Jan Haakonsen, VP sales and marketing for Denomega Nutritional Oils told NutraIngredients.com that the oils have been available in other countries since 2001. The first products were launched in Australia, and others have since been introduced all over Europe, the US, and in parts of Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Korea).
The company decided to enter into an agreement with S Black because it had not been very successful in its attempts to go direct to the UK market.
"We could not push very effectively in the UK without assistance," he said.
Denomega oils are sold directly by the company in the US and Scandinavia but it uses distributors in other parts of Europe and Asia.
Haakonsen explained that the key difference between Denomega and other oils is that it uses a patented cold process extraction and keeps the oil fresh. Although it is not microencapsulated, he said it does not have to be: freshness means the end product is not tainted by a fishy taste or smell.
There are a number of variants in the Denomega line, with an omega-3 content varying from 13 to 30 per cent and a DHA:EPA ration of 1:1.
Denomega 100 is the fresh oil, which can be added directly to all products that allow an oil inclusion. It can be used in fresh products such as milk without the need for processing, thereby improving the ingredients list.
There is a need for some processing technology when the oils are used in baked goods such as bars and cereals, and Denomega has been working with a partner that has developed another patented process to make this possible.
The results of this are Denomega powder, which is produced from the pure oil and has a range of applications, especially in baked goods or those where a dry mix is required, and Denomenga 3 stable liquid emulsions, which can be used when in challenging applications when a long shelf-life is required, or where omega-3 has to co-exist in the finished product alongside iron or copper.
Haakonsen was not able to reveal details of the technology partner or the process at this time, but more details will be announced in March. For the time being, one bar has already been developed using Denomega and the technology.
It is anticipated that the first finished products in the UK using Denomega will be launched as early as next month.
As for the potential of the UK market, it is "not the leading consumer of omega-3, but has shown a jump-start recently".
Haakonsen was optimistic about the product's potential: "We believe we can be the dominant omega-3 provider for functional foods and beverages. We are not shy."
He predicts that the omega-3 functional foods will really lead the market away from supplements. Although the supplement market will continue to grow, he does not think it will be so fast.
In 2004 the European omega-3 market was valued at US$194 million (around €160 million), more than three-quarters of which was generated by marine oils. Algae-derived products by the likes of Nutrinova and Martek Biosciences made up 19 per cent of the market.
Frost and Sullivan has predicted that it will grow at rates of 8 per cent on average to 2010.