Functional coffee demand yet to heat up

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acids Nutrition

Amidst attempts to tap functional beverage demand through hot drink developments in teas and coffees, fortification in the segment with ingredients like omega-3 is expected to remain a niche area, according to an analyst.

On the back of the growing interest for supplement forms of omega-3 fatty acids, Canada-based manufacturer, GR Nutriceutical Company, says it is promoting its Omega Coffee product as cost efficient functional alternative to hot beverages.

The manufacturer claims, that for a similar price to that of a regular coffee, its product can provide a ‘rich’ source of omega-3 that can be suitable for use in a variety of formats like cappuccinos, lattes and espresso.

Omega-3, a predominantly marine-sourced fatty acid, is being increasingly linked to a wide range of benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and certain cancers, joint health, as well as improved behaviour and moods.

In attempting to play up the health potential of omega-3 fortification in its drinks, GR Nutriceutical suggested it will promote the coffee product on the grounds of potential wellness benefits to the consumer.

Hot drink demand

However, UK-based market analyst Zenith International told that, with omega-3 being a major growth area in functional drinks like milk and juices, similar fortification of hot beverages remained a niche area for product development.

A spokesperson for the analyst said that although there has been some activity in developments of hot drinks with functional ingredients, the group currently saw the segment as more an application extension for omega-3 than an emerging product area.

By comparison, Zenith claimed that juices and even sports drinks with Omega-3 fortification remained a much more in demand area among global consumers.

While the analyst did not have specific figures for the size of the functional hot beverage market, the group said it saw strong potential in the overall market for omega-3 fortified drinks.

Omega-3 drink sales are forecast to increase by 34 per cent over the five-year period ending 2011, say preliminary figures released by Zenith back in February.

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