Omega-3s player finds success using phytocannabinoids as differentiator

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images
Getty Images
Betting on the endocannabinoid system is proving a fruitful differentiation strategy as longtime omega-3 brand Omax Health seeks to stand out in a crowded and maturing market.

Omax was an early adopter of high concentrate fish oils. Its signature product, Omax Ultra Pure Omega 3, is more than 90% EPA and DHA, providing 1,125 mg of EPA and 275 mg of DHA in a 1.65 gram serving.

The product has garnered a strong following, said CEO Kristin Chadwick. That includes adoption by a number of professional sports teams including in leagues like the NFL that do not generally do not look favorably on supplementation.

A market of thinning margins

omax stress + sleep

But even that allegiance has not been enough to help the brand stand out sufficiently.  The company looked ahead and saw that margins in the omega-3s sphere are narrowing. Even though the brand’s signature product had a strong market position, overall prices at the shelf were dropping while the costs of the raw material are trending up.

“We were founded in 2008 and we’ve been primarily a fish oil company for about 10 years,” ​Chadwick said. “We have been known for our omega-3 product because of its high concentration and the efficacy it has been shown to have.”

“We are remaining in that science supported space but we are moving in a new direction,”​ she said.

The company’s new direction includes a products called PhytoMax Sleep + Stress Remedy.  It features 400 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA from fish oil, 100 mg of hemp extract and 100 mg of AlphaWave L-Theanine, a branded form of the amino acid from supplier Ethical Naturals.

Omax was among the early adopters in the phytocannabinoid space.  While the Sleep and Stress product has been on the market for more than a year, the preparation for the launch was a deliberate process.

“We had been working on the legal and regulatory processes for more than a year,”​ Chadwick said.

No longer a one trick pony

Among the executives helping in the transition is Evan DeMarco, the company’s chief science and marketing officer, who became familiar with the brand while working for KD Pharma, the company’s fish oil concentrates supplier.

“The challenge was how did we transition a business that had been something of a one trick pony?  We made the decision that CBD is something we needed to be playing with,​” DeMarco said.

But in so doing, DeMarco said the company also didn’t want to make the mistake of putting all of its eggs into a new basket.  

“CBD is not the panacea that people make it out to be,”​ he said.  “The optimization of the endocannabinoid system is not just reliant on a full spectrum phytocannabinoid extract.”

The decision to pair the hemp extract with omega-3s allows the company to affect this system on multiple levels, DeMarco said. He said the Sleep + Stress product is headed into clinical trials, which will help build on the positive reputation it has garnered so far in the marketplace, where Omax sells online and through practitioners.

“The reviews and the sales have proving that this will be a major vehicle for us moving forward so that we have somewhat relegated the omega-3s business,” ​he said.

DeMarco said the different ways omega-3s and CBD affects the endocannabinoid system allows for something of an entourage effect.  That could allow in the future for additional claims around brain health, though he said the arena is a tricky one in which to avoid the pitfalls of disease claims.

Omega-3s webinar scheduled for July 2

NutraIngredients-USA is hosting an omega-3s webinar on July 2 at 10:30 AM Central time.  The webinar will consist of a panel discussion looking at latest marketing trends, new developments in the underlying science, and recent regulatory questions.  Panelists include Dr Bill Harris, PhD, CEO of OmegaQuant, attorney Katie Bond of the law firm Amin Talati Wasserman, Ellen Schutt, executive director of GOED, and Sam Wiley, CEO of Wiley’s Finest.  For more information and to register, click here​.

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