O-3 coalition names science board to boost credibility, help maintain momentum

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acid

O-3 coalition names science board to boost credibility, help maintain momentum
The Omega 3 Coalition, a group formed to support the positive messaging to the public around the cardiovascular disease benefits of the ingredients, has formed a scientific advisory council, it was announced yesterday.

The group, which has been around since mid 2014, was formed to address the first significant sales declines the ingredients have suffered since its umbrella group, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega 3s (GOED), was formed in 2006. The sales declines coincided with negative publicity that arose from some equivocal and negative studies. But Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED, said after looking at the situation in more depth, it became apparent that the underlying driver of the sales declines was the dearth of positive messaging about omega-3s to the consumer.  Consumers generally tend to cleave to the most recent messages they’ve heard about a product, Ismail said, and the category had been skating along primarily on sales momentum, without having put much money behind promotional activity.

That changed in 2014, when the coalition was formed to provide a funding mechanism for a series of advertising campaigns. The test run, in Charlotte, NC, changed that market from the poorest performing market in the country in terms of omega-3 sales into the best.  A national campaign, which wrapped up recently, followed on its heels.

The announcement of the naming of the new advisory board for the coalition is meant to capitalize on the momentum generated in fundraising for the sales campaign, said Ellen Schutt, communications manager for GOED.

“I don’t think the coalition is really too ‘mature’ for this; we only completed the national campaign this spring. We wanted to take the time to recruit the proper personnel,” ​Schutt told NutraIngredients-USA.

Board makeup

The members of the science advisory board are:

Cheryl Forberg, RD is a James Beard award-winning chef, New York Times bestselling author, and the nutritionist for NBC's "The Biggest Loser." She is a food and nutrition spokesperson, journalist and a blogger for The Huffington Post. 

Bill Harris, PhD, FAHA, FNLA is an internationally-known expert on omega-3 fatty acids and how they benefit patients with heart disease. Dr. Harris has researched omega-3s since 1980 and has more than 190 publications related to omega-3 fatty acids in medical literature. He is a Senior Scientist at Health Diagnostic Laboratory; a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota; and the President and CEO of OmegaQuant.

Daniel Soffer, MD, FNLA is an internist and lipidologist with Penn Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. He lectures regularly on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and clinical management of lipid disorders and atherosclerosis. He is a Fellow of the National Lipid Association (NLA), serves on the board of the Northeast Lipid Association, and co-chairs the Publication Committee for the NLA.

Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD is a food and nutrition journalist, spokesperson and frequent guest on national and regional TV stations. She has authored hundreds of magazine and trade publication articles, written book chapters, and is co-editor of the NSCA's Guide to Exercise and Sport Nutrition (Human Kinetics Publishers).

Maintaining momentum

The new board will help underpin the coalition’s mission, Schutt said.

“We think it’s really important to get the message out about the importance of omega-3s to cardiovascular health,”​ she said. “With this board, we can provide scientific expertise to reporters. It gives the coalition a level of credibility to have these experts on board.”

Maintaining that momentum will be a key driver for the organization going forward, Schutt said. Even with the obvious need, fundraising to support the advertising campaigns has been difficult.

“Over the past year fundraising had been a challenge to the campaign. I think the coalition was thinking outside the box in a way that companies in the field were not used to doing,” she said.

Another thing that could help maintain momentum and prop up future fundraising efforts would be positive results from the national campaign. Early returns look good, Schutt said, but she said she couldn’t be more specific until the full results are compiled and analyzed. Those results are expected within a few weeks, she said.

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