Omega-3 food, beverage market grows 11%

by Jeff Gelski
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NEW YORK — A new report from Packaged Facts estimates U.S. retail sales of food and beverage products with a “high omega-3” or “high DHA” claim grew 11% and approached $4 billion in 2010. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a kind of omega-3 fatty acid.

The report, “Omega-3 Foods and Beverages in the U.S., 3rd Edition,” predicts the omega-3 fatty acid ingredient market in the United States will grow 40% from 2010 to 2015 and that U.S. retail sales of “high omega-3” or “high DHA” foods and beverages, excluding fish, will approach $7 billion by the end of 2015.

Consumers have perceived that fish oils and powders with omega-3 fatty acids impart a bad taste or smell to food, but novel production technologies have taken on the sensory issues and now should allow for the addition of omega-3 fatty acids into an expanding number of foods and beverages, according to Packaged Facts.

“When the first omega-3-enriched foods entered the market in 2003, some predicted that there would be a flood of products within a couple of years,” said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “But the challenges of finding ways to get the fatty acids into food and beverages, making the resulting product palatable and achieving a reasonable shelf life were more daunting than expected.

“Now that many of these technology hurdles have been overcome, more categories of products have become viable candidates for fortification with omega fatty acids. Several industry experts we interviewed believe that the biggest trend in the next five to 10 years will be food and beverage companies seeking to fortify their products with omegas.”

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