Except in certain exceptional cases, Kellogg is bound to purchase all DHA for use in its new range of products intended for the US and certain other markets from Martek. There are no minimum purchase requirements and the agreement does not contain any other financial commitments.
Products containing microalgae-derived Martek DHA are expected to hit the shelves by mid-2006 but competitive concerns mean the two companies are keeping the details of the new line closely under wraps. Whatever it consists of, it will certainly raise consumer awareness of DHA since the Martek DHA logo will appear on packaging, in print advertisements and on other promotional materials.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been identified as playing an important part in cardiovascular health and their importance is highlighted in the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans published last month.
However DHA only occurs naturally in foods, such as fatty fish and organ meat, which do not figure prominently in the modern American diet, meaning that most Americans are not consuming enough.
According to the American Heart Association more than 70 million Americans suffer from one or more type of cardiovascular disease, which accounted for 38 percent of deaths in 2002.
"Food companies are recognizing the importance of DHA to human nutrition and are looking for superior delivery solutions," said Henry Linsert, chairman and CEO of Martek.
The deal with Kellogg follows the FDA's decision last September that conventional foods containing DHA and EPA (eiscosapentaenoic acid) can carry a qualified health claim stating that they may help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Prior to this, the claim could only be made on the packaging of supplements containing the fatty acids.
At the time, Linsert said: "This will help further educate consumers about DHA's beneficial role in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. I believe that this is one more step toward the realization that DHA has multiple benefits for people throughout life."