“Consumers are searching for new ways to add omega-3s into their diet aside from taking a supplement or eating fatty fish,” Laura King, RDN, Sr. marketing manager at DSM, told NutraIngredients-USA.
“The bottled water, RTD tea, and juice categories are growing rapidly, with good-for-you and functional beverages topping the list of popular products,” added King. “These health and wellness beverage categories represent a virtually untapped market for omega-3 fortification due to prior technology limitations, which Oceans Omega’s technology has overcome.”
The ingredients giant signed a supply agreement with Oceans Omega LLC (a subsidiary of Mycell Technologies LLC) and its OTEC emulsion ingredients in 2013 for the delivery of omega-3 EPA/DHA ingredient solutions in a range of applications, including clear beverages.
DSM showcased the proprietary technology at the recent IFT Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago, with “quite a bit of interest” generated, said King, “mostly from customers intrigued that we were showcasing an apple juice with life’sDHA omega-3, and that it tasted to so good.
“This led to questions and fruitful discussions about fortification level possibilities, enhanced flavor profiles, shelf life, and other beverage development opportunities,” she added. “The fortified apple juice was the perfect product concept to sample at the show because it displayed the emulsion technology beautifully in a crystal clear beverage, and spurred the intrigue of our booth visitors.
“Adding omega-3s to this type of beverage, in a meaningful dose, while maintaining the taste consumers expect, is typically a difficult proposition; however with Oceans Omega’s emulsion we are able to achieve a great product.”
Doses… beverages vs supplements
Commenting on the dosages possible, King explained that a distinction needs to be made between beverages and supplement categories. “For the general food categories, the standard omega-3 dosage in the market today is 32mg per serving,” she said. “However, the technology allows for much higher fortification levels of up to 500 milligrams of Omega-3s per 1 oz serving in some cases.
“These higher doses are of particular interest in the supplement categories, where ‘daily dose’ type delivery formats are more commonplace, depending on the serving size, product positioning, and target market. For example, a good-tasting multi-serve breakfast beverage supplement could have 250mg of Omega-3s per 4 oz serving.”
Several companies are offering omega-3 encapsulation technologies for liquids, with Ingredion, for example, producing a modified food starch that is GRAS for beverages, while TIC Gums has a modified gum acacia. California-based Virun also has several pertinent patents and pending patents that allow the delivery and stability of omega-3 EPA and DHA or DHA into foods or beverages, Philip Bromley, CEO of Virun, told NutraIngredients-USA.
“We have several patents and patents pending that utilize a diester moiety derived from either natural or synthetic vitamin E succinate (natural or synthetic depends on cost and the customers’ requirements) we brand as our Esolv encapsulator,” explained Dr Bromley. “This encapsulator allows clear dissolving emulsions of omega 3 EPA and/or DHA or powders into water.
“Our niche is focusing on clean label claim whereas we do not need preservatives, only our natural HCO3- process which infuses the omega compositions with natural bicarbonate allowing a beverage long term shelf life without the use of preservatives or EDTA etc... one disadvantage is that, there are specific controls that everyone dealing with EPA and DHA must integrate throughout the process of encapsulation to finished beverage.
“The natural products market is a real opportunity for us and our high end omega-3 products we develop for our clients looking to increase their margins and gain traction,” said Dr Bromley.
“We even have a clear omega-3 infused organic craft beer named Dr. Jekyll's available at Whole Foods on W. Coast and other distribution outlets! ... now that is true Millennialization toward the future!"