Under the new deal, ET Horn will distribute Martek’s life’sDHA to the nutraceutical industry in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Maryland-based Martek, which already dominates the US market for DHA used in infant formula, said its own sales representatives currently sell the ingredient to these regions but expects the new partnership will expand its reach to customers.
“Adding ET Horn to our distributor network is an extension of our sales capacity in the west of the United States,” Cassie France-Kelly, a Martek spokesperson told NutraIngredients-USA.com, adding that sales will also continue via Martek’s own sales force.
DHA – or Docosahexaenoic acid – is a long chain omega-3 essential fatty acid linked to eye, brain and heart health. It is particularly popular in infant formulas as it is thought to support fetal brain and eye development during pregnancy. After the baby is born, DHA – consumed through breastfeeding or fortified infant formulas – is said to support mental, visual and motor skills development.
Martek’s algae-sourced life’sDHA ingredient appears in around 95 percent of infant formula products sold in the United States. In recent years, the ingredient has also expanded beyond the infant formula market to be incorporated in a broad range of food categories from dairy to bakery.
According to market analyst Frost & Sullivan, algal oil, which is a concentrated source of DHA, currently accounts for 3 percent of the total omega-3 market.
The algae used in life’sDHA is produced in Martek’s factories, and then undergoes an extraction and refining process. Algal-sourced omega-3 oils generally range from around 40-50 percent DHA.
Frost & Sullivan estimates the US market for algal-sourced omega-3 is $83m, while the EU market is $56m.