Coromega throws hat into high-concentrate omega-3s ring

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Coromega throws hat into high-concentrate omega-3s ring

Related tags: Fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acid

California-based Coromega, a company that has based its value proposition the pleasant mouthfeel of its omega-3 emulsions, has found that it is not immune to the drive toward ever higher concentrations. The company has launched a “super-concentrated” offering to compete on this high end of the market.

Coromega was the brainchild more than two decades ago of a Norwegian formulator who wanted to make fish oil palatable for children. Since then, the company has spun a story of omega-3s that taste good, good enough to take as a squeeze with a variety of flavorings.  Most fish oil products are packaged in soft gels in an effort to bypass the taste buds altogether, with the hope that you won’t taste them later via the dreaded fishy burps.

All that good news came at a price, though;  Coromega products in the past have not been very concentrated. The standard squeeze product has less than 300 mg of EPA and DHA per gram of material (it’s packaged in a standard 2 gram serving for 650 mg combined omega-3s per dose). That’s changed with the new product. In four grams of oil, the Super-Concentrated Coromega Max delivers 1250 mg of EPA and 850 mg of DHA for a little better than a 50% concentration.

Palatability at a high concentration

While many high omega-3s concentrates do far better, Coromega’s argument would be that they’re hard to digest, making them less bioavailable. Some in the sector claim that the higher the concentration, the more difficulty there is in digestion, although there is little data at the moment to back that assertion. For its part, Coromega points to research that shows that its emulsified forms of fish oil provide better bioavailability​ than do standard triglyceride forms in soft gels. The postulated mechanism of action is that the fish oil droplets in the emulsion are smaller and easier to digest and absorb than standard fish oil delivery methods.

Andrew Aussie, executive vice president of Coromega, said that the fishy burps story might be old news, but it’s still the leading drawback of the category.

“Fishy burps are still is the No. 1 complaint about taking fish oils.  And that’s not just the US;  that’s far and wide around the world,”​ Aussie told NutraIngredients-USA.

Aussie said that unpleasant experience extends to the capsules themselves. Fish oil is by its nature susceptible to oxidation, and soft gels are not a fool proof way to prevent this. Even with the vitamin E that many formulators add to retard oxidation, some odor escapes, Aussie said.

“Fish oil soft gels by their nature are gas permeable and that’s why if you open a bottle of fish oil, somewhere during the first 30 days you’re going to start to smell it.  Our product is sealed in a UV and oxygen barrier for every dose. It has a three year shelf life,”​ he said.

More parents looking for alternatives

Despite the technology’s first goal to reach kids with fish oil, Aussie said the company’s customers at the moment are mostly adults who understand the benefits of omega-3s but are looking for a more palatable alternative. The company does sell products directly to consumers, an outlet that Aussie said it uses more to get real-time information about market trends rather than as a big cash generator. One of the trends that the company has noticed recently is parents of special needs children such as children on the autism spectrum who have seen research that suggests omega-3s might be beneficial in helping to manage their children’s issues. Some of these children might be especially sensitive to changes in the diet or might reject an unpalatable product more vociferously than most.  Coromega offers both the omega-3 squeezable products as well as omega-3 gummies.

“Six years ago when we launched our first product aimed directly at kids, there wasn’t a big reaction at the time. I think we were a bit ahead of the market. But now we see some sources recommending fish oil as something that could help kids who are on that spectrum,” ​he said.

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