The year 2007 may go down as the year omega-3 fatty acids were added to just about everything. The substance, found in fish as well as some nuts and oils, has been shown to cut the risk of heart disease and increase brain function. The result is that food manufacturers are adding omega-3 to products, including orange juice, infant formula, cereal, pet food, dairy products, eggs and butter substitutes.
According to Mintel, omega-3 was added to 120 new food products in 2005 and last year that number climbed to 250. This year, the number of foods with omega-3 added will climb even higher.
“Omega-3 is the hot ingredient,” Lynn Dornblaser, analyst at Mintel, told USA Today.
“It’s become the miracle food,” said, Maureen Putman, marketing chief at The Hain Celestial Group. The manufacturer, which puts omega-3 in its Health Valley brand cereal, plans to add it to the company’s Earth’s Best infant formula.
Many other manufacturers are following similar paths in response to consumer demand. According to a HealthFocus USA Trend Survey, forty percent of American adults are looking to add more omega-3 to their diet.
Among those looking to build sales with products containing omega-3 are Eggland’s Best, Kellogg, Omega Farms, Procter & Gamble, Tropicana and Unilever.
Eggland’s Best feeds hens with canola oil to create eggs with high omega-3 levels.
Kellogg has put omega-3 into Kashi cereal.
Omega Farms adds omega-3 to milk, cheese, yogurt and orange juice.
Procter & Gamble’s Eukanuba and Iams brands have omega-3 in a number of its pet foods. The brands first introduced omega-3 in products back in 1993.
Tropicana is rolling out a Healthy Heart orange juice with omega-3.
Unilever has added omega-3 to its I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter butter substitute.
Discussion Question: Will omega-3 be the miracle (sales) ingredient that brand manufacturers are looking for?