GOED: Omega-3s market grew 2.3% in 2018

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags Fish oil Fish oil supplements Krill oil Krill Algae Epa Dha

The global omega-3s market grew 2.3% in 2018 from the previous year on a tonnage basis, according to a report released by GOED.

The report, called the GOED Omega-3 Ingredient Market Report, was finalized recently by the organization, formally known as the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s. 

The total market for omega-3 ingredients in 2018 was pegged at 111,210 metric tons.  The GOED report judges the value of the market at $1.38 billion.

Getting the projections right

The report is generated from data taken from the association’s members, making it one of the most accurate and reliable available.  In this era of the proliferation of spurious market ‘research’ firms, it becomes increasingly difficult for firms to find solid data on which to base decisions.  For example, a report from one such firm cites a 7.4% CAGR for the global omega-3s market in the coming year, even though GOED has been reporting low single digit growth for some time now. 

The omega-3s market at one time registered in the high single digits or even double digit growth.  But starting about 2012 the market was hit with some high profile, well publicized equivocal studies about the ingredients’ effectiveness for supporting cardiovascular health, and growth slowed dramatically.  Some markets, such as the United States, even contracted​. 

After an advertising campaign whose creation was led by former GOED executive director Adam Ismail, the market returned to growth​, but since then has exhibited signs of maturity.

Today, according to the GOED report, the US remains the world’s biggest market for omega-3s, followed by Europe and China. 

Volume, value shows different picture

In terms of volumes, the largest source was common refined oils, otherwise known as 18/12 oils, which made up 36.6% of the market. Concentrated oils composed 18.6% of the market, while a category called “miscellaneous pet food oils” commanded 16.1% of the market.  

In the individual sources breakdown, common refined oils, the vast majority of which come from the anchovy fishery in Peru and Chile, accounted for 40,754 metric tons.  Concentrates came in at 20,711 tons, and the pet food oils at 17,906 tons.

The report also broke down sources that appear in teh market in more specific forms.  Among these were:

  • Menhaden — 9,405 tons
  • Cod liver oils — 8,490 tons
  • Salmon — 5,285 tons
  • Tuna — 4,531 tons
  • Algal oils — 2,034 tons
  • Krill — 859 tons
  • Squid — 697 tons
  • Hoki — 428 tons
  • Pollock — 80 tons
  • Calanus — 17 tons
  • Mussel — 12 tons.

Hoki, also known as blue grenadier, is an open water, pollock-like fish that is caught in large numbers around New Zealand.  It is said to have oilier flesh than most white-fleshed fish species.  Calanus is an Arctic species of zooplankton that is harvested in the northern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.  It is sold on the supplement market as Arctic Ruby Oil.

In terms of value, the market looks quite different. Concentrates account for 35.5% of the overall value, followed by tuna and algal oils, which are important components of the DHA fortified infant formula market.

Rounding out the value chain are the common refined oils and krill oils, which are used primarily in dietary supplements.  

As far as applications are concerned, dietary supplements at 63.8%, are far and away the leader for omega-3 oils.  Pet food applications are a growing segment, at 24.8%, and infant formula accounts for a 4.4% sized piece of the applications pie.  Other important end uses include fortified foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals and clincal nutrition.

Market report

To purphase the full report, go to the GOED website​.

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