In an innovative move that may come as paradoxical, Martek Biosciences is taking its vegetarian life'sDHA to meat products.
The US company will be supplying its omega-3 fatty acid ingredient to the Dutch firm Dalco Foods, which will in turn use it in its line of Wellness branded meats to be sold worldwide.
Martek has played up the vegetarian merits of its ingredient, in particular for infant formula, but - given the Dalco goods are meat products - it is underscoring the cleaner attributes of a non-fish oil sourcing of the ingredient.
"As a sustainable, contaminant-free and non-fish source of omega-3 fatty acids, life'sDHA is a great fit for Dalco's new line of health conscious Wellness foods, and for consumers who want to increase their omega-3 consumption," said Joe Buron, Martek vice president of marketing and sales.
The company's branded DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is made from microalgae under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions.
The firm has continued to invest heavily into the research and development for further food and beverage applications for the ingredient, as well as scientific evidence supporting its use as a healthy ingredient. In Q3 of 2007, Martek spent $6.8mn on R&D.
As a result of these efforts, the company has rolled-out a continuous line of new partnerships - the Dalco one being the latest.
Other recent product additions include brands such as WhiteWave Foods, Breyer's Yogurt, General Mills' Yoplait Kids and Central Lecher Asturiana's ABC infant yogurt in Spain.
A proposed rulemaking from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prohibiting nutrient content claims on products with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA, could present an obstacle to marketing of such products with omega-3 in the US.
Under the proposed rule, companies would still be allowed to make specific structure/function claims surrounding omega-3, but not to specifically cite a product as a "good" or "excellent" source of the fatty acids for general health and wellness.
The proposed rule could specifically impact functional food marketers as most foods fortified with omega-3s currently hold nutrient content claims, while this is much less the case with dietary supplements, which tend to be sold entirely on the virtue that they are comprised of omega-3s.