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Omega 3 Fatty Acids and the U.S. Food and Beverage Market


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Advancements in ingredient technology inspired product developers in 2006 to innovate through the addition of powerhouse omega-3 fatty acids into all types of foods and beverages. These products have started rolling out into the mainstream marketplace and initial sales figures suggest they are making their way into consumers’ homes . . . repeatedly. Packaged Facts predicts that by 2011, retail sales of foods and beverages enriched with omega-3s will reach more than $7 billion. However, not all omega-3 ingredients are created equal. This report delves into the differences between alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It identifies omega-3 sources and suppliers; food and beverage manufacturers formulating with omega-3s; trends in product categories; consumers seeking out omega-3-enriched foods; and what the future holds for the booming business of formulating with omega-3s.

Suppliers and marketers profiled in this report include Martek Biosciences, Ocean Nutrition Canada, Kellogg, General Mills, Hain Celestial, DSM Nutritional Products, Omega Protein Corp., Pizzey’s Milling, Barilla America, Clif Bar, Eggland’s Best, GFA Brands, and Stoneyfield Farm.

Products Covered
Omega 3 Fatty Acids and the U.S. Food and Beverage Market addresses all retail foods and beverages marketed as containing any or all of the three omega-3 fatty acids; however, most of the discussion, particularly market size, focuses on foods and beverages especially formulated to contain omega-3 fatty acids. This means foods that inherently contain omega-3 fatty acids such as canola oil, cranberry seeds, flaxseed, mustard seeds, salmon, walnuts, etc., are not the focus of this report. The exception to the rule is eggs, as eggs inherently contain omega-3s; however, egg producers are aggressively incorporating hen feeding initiatives to boost the omega-3 content of eggs. Thus, these “special” eggs are included in the quantitative discussion of this report.

In general, this report centers on foods formulated using these foods as ingredients in order to boost omega-3 levels, as well as foods formulated with specific omega-3 fatty acid ingredients. Omega-3 ingredients are either manufactured using technology that deodorizes and conceals the fishy taste and odor of omega-3s, or are derived from vegetarian sources. Because most new omega-3 products have neutral taste and odor characteristics, they are increasingly being incorporated into foods and beverages.

This report also includes a lengthy qualitative discussion of the various omega-3 ingredients available to food formulators, including an overview of the marketers of these ingredients.

This report excludes dietary supplements and infant formula, since both are regulated very differently than foods and beverages.

Report Methodology
The information in this report was obtained from both primary and secondary research. Primary research entailed in-depth, on-site examinations of supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers, convenience stores (c-stores), health/natural foods stores, specialty stores, and club stores. Company, distributor, and retailer interviews were conducted to obtain information on new product and packaging trends, marketing programs, distribution methods, and technological breakthroughs. Secondary research entailed data gathering from relevant sources. Included were consumer and industry publications, newspapers, government reports, financial reports, company literature, and corporate annual reports.

Overall market data is for the entire retail industry. No foodservice sales are included.

How You Will Benefit from this Report
If your company is interested in joining the omega 3 bandwagon, you will find this report invaluable, as it provides a comprehensive package of information and insight about foods and beverages with omega 3 not offered in any other single source. Contributing to that understanding will be a complete analysis of data from published and trade sources, and in-depth examination of the consumer and nutrition trends that are affecting this market. Plus, you’ll benefit from extensive data, presented in easy-to-read and practical charts, tables and graphs.

This report will help:

  • Marketing Managers identify market opportunities and develop targeted promotion plans for foods and beverages rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Research and development professionals stay on top of competitor initiatives and explore demand for products with omega 3 fatty acids
  • Advertising agencies to develop messages and images that compel consumers to purchase these products.
  • Business development executives understand the dynamics of the market and identify possible partnerships.
  • Information and research center librarians provide market researchers, brand and product managers and other colleagues with the vital information they need to do their jobs more effectively.


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope and Methodology
      • Report Methodology
    • The Products
      • Products Analyzed
      • Not All Fats Are Created Equal
      • The Skinny on the Fatties: ALA, DHA, and EPA
    • The Ingredients
      • Sources of ALA
      • Sources of DHA and EPA
      • Group's Focus to Differentiate and Educate
      • Qualified Health Claim for Products Formulated with DHA and EPA
    • Size and Growth of the Market
      • Omega-3-Enhanced Products Are Really Just Gaining Momentum
      • 2006 Finishes Off with $2 Billion in Sales
      • Sales Are Projected to Reach $7 Billion by 2011
        • Table U.S. Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, 2002-2011 (in millions of dollars)
      • ALA-Enhanced Foods Kick the Category Off: DHA/EPA Take Over
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, Percent Share of ALA vs. DHA/EPA, 2002-2011
      • Grain-Based Foods Dominate Share of Sales
    • New Products and Trends Driving Market Growth
      • New Omega-3-Enhanced Products Entering the Marketplace
      • There's a Dietary Need for Omega-3s
      • Functional Foods Are the Trend, and Omega-3 Is a Leader in the Biz
    • The Marketplace
      • All Types of Marketers
      • Where Consumers Shop for These Foods
      • Traditional Supermarkets Account for 50.0% of Retail Sales
        • Table Omega-3 Foods and Beverages: Share of Dollar Sales by Outlet, 2006
      • Two Different Consumers Are Primary Targeted
        • Table Awareness and Consumption of Omega-3s for Certain Health Benefits
      • Consumers' Perceptions of Fats
  • The Products and the Ingredients
    • Key Points
      • Not All Fats Are Created Equal
      • Fatty Acids 101
      • How Fatty Acids Vary in Their Impact on Health
      • Losing a Fear of Fat
      • The Essential Fatty Acids
      • The Omega-3s: ALA, DHA, and EPA
        • Table Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Nomenclature, Structure, and Food Source
      • Products Included and Excluded From This Report
      • Fortifying with Omega-3s Is the Trend for 2007 . . . and Beyond
      • Why Fortify with Omega-3s? Recognized Benefits
    • Government Regulations
      • The Regulatory Environment
      • Labeling Overview
      • Labeling Nomenclature
      • Provide the Facts: Nutritional Information Musts
      • Trans Fats Joined That List; Omega-3s Not Part of the Nutrition Facts
      • Products that Are Exempt
      • Adding Beneficial Nutrients to Conventional Foods
        • Table Permitted Nutrient Content Claims for Omega-3s in the United States
      • A Variety of Possible Claims
      • Types of Health Claims
      • Health Claims that Meet Significant Scientific Agreement
      • Qualified Health Claims
      • Qualified Health Claim for Foods and Beverages Containing DHA and EPA
      • Structure/Function Claims
        • Table Structure/Functions Claims on Omega-3-Fortified Foods and Beverages, 2006
      • Nutrient Content Claims
        • Table Nutrient Content Claims on Omega-3-Fortified Foods and Beverages, 2006
      • Allergen Issues
      • Dietary Recommendations for Consuming Omega-3s
    • Omega-3 Sources
      • An Overview of ALA, DHA, and EPA
      • The Basics on Flaxseed
      • Walnuts Have ALA, Too
      • Seed Oils Enters the Scene
      • Fish Oil-Based DHA and EPA
      • Skip the Fish and Go to the Source
      • Do Marine and Plant Sources Vary in Functionality?
      • ALA vs. DHA and EPA
      • Group's Focus to Differentiate and Educate
      • ALA Fortification Continues to Boom
      • This Report Breaks Up ALA and DHA/EPA Foods
      • Omega-3 Suppliers
  • The Market
    • Key Points
      • Market Definition
      • Omega-3-Enhanced Foods Off to a Slow Start
      • 2006 Finishes Off with $2 Billion in Sales
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, 2002-2006 (in millions of dollars)
      • ALA-Enhanced Foods Kick Off the Omega-3-Enhanced Category
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, by ALA and DHA/EPA, 2002-2006 (in millions of dollars)
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, Percent Share of ALA vs. DHA/EPA, 2002-2006
    • Market Composition
      • Grain-Based Foods Dominate Share of Sales
        • Table Omega-3-Enhanced Foods and Beverages: Share of Dollar Sales by Product Category, 2006
      • The Dynamics Change When ALA and DHA/EPA Are Broken Out
        • Table ALA Omega-3-Enhanced Foods and Beverages: Share of Dollar Sales by Product Category, 2006
        • Table DHA/EPA Omega-3-Enhanced Foods and Beverages: Share of Dollar Sales by Product Category, 2006
      • Where Consumers Are Buying Omega-3-Enhanced Foods
        • Table Omega-3 Foods and Beverages: Share of Dollar Sales by Outlet, 2006
    • Factors to Market Growth
      • There's a Dietary Need for Omega-3s
      • ALA vs. DHA/EPA; The Latter Goes Full Speed Ahead
      • Ingredient Suppliers Offer High-Quality DHA and EPA
      • Functional Foods Are the Trend, and Omega-3 Is a Leader in the Biz
      • Group's Focus to Differentiate and Educate
    • Projected Market Growth
      • Sales Are Projected to Reach $7 Billion by 2011
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, 2006-2011 (in millions of dollars)
      • DHA/EPA-Enhanced Foods Dominate Category Quickly
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, by ALA, DHA, and EPA, 2006-2011 (in millions of dollars)
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Omega-3-Enhanced Products, Percent Share of ALA vs. DHA/EPA, 2006-2011
  • The Suppliers
    • Key Points
      • Omega-3 Ingredient Options
      • Before You Seek Out a Supplier
      • A Sample of Sources of ALA
      • A Sample of Sources of DHA/EPA
    • Competitive Profile: DSM Nutritional Products, Inc., Parsippany, New Jersey
      • Company Overview
      • Back in Business
      • Educating Educators and Curious Consumers
    • Competitive Profile: Martek Biosciences, Columbia, Maryland
      • Company Overview
      • Beyond Infant Formula
      • Selected for NIH Study
      • Cutting Exclusivity Deals with Major Marketers
    • Competitive Profile: Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
      • Company Overview
      • Unique Double Shell Protection Debuts in 2006
      • Teaming Up with Danone to Educate the Public on EPA/DHA
      • Tipping Point?
    • Competitive Profile: Omega Protein Corp., Houston, Texas
      • Company Overview
      • Current and Potential Applications
        • Table Application Chart for OmegaPure Menhaden-Derived Fish Oil
    • Competitive Profile: Pizzey's Milling USA, Gurnee, Illinois
      • Company Overview
      • Picking and Choosing Seeds
  • The Marketers
    • Key Points
      • All Types of Marketers
      • The Five Leading Marketers
        • Table U.S. Omega-3 Foods and Beverages: Five Leading Marketers and Brands, 2006
    • Competitive Situation
      • IRI Data Is Not Available for Most Marketers
      • Consumers Must Recognize the Benefits of Barilla Pasta PLUS
      • Flax Cereal Must Be Nature's Deal
      • Spread on the Good Stuff
        • Table U.S. Omega-3 Foods and Beverages: Select Brands, Dollar Sales, 2002-2006 (in thousand of dollars)
    • Competitive Profile: Barilla America, Inc., Deerfield, Illinois
      • Company Overview
      • Adding ALA to Pasta
      • Barilla Is a Brand Growth All Star
      • Event Sponsorship and Advertising Is Key to Building Brand
    • Competitive Profile: Clif Bar Inc., Berkeley, California
      • Company Overview
      • Serving the Earth
      • Luna Now Comes with Omega-3s
    • Competitive Profile: Eggland's Best, Inc., King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
      • Company Overview
      • What Makes the Eggs so Special?
      • Look for the "EB" Stamp on Each Eggshell
    • Competitor Profile: Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC, Schiller Park, Illinois
      • Company Overview
      • Perky's Acquisition Grows Product Line
    • Competitive Profile: GFA Brands, Inc., Cresskill, New Jersey
      • Company Overview
      • Smart's Source of Omega-3s
    • Competitive Profile: General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota
      • Company Overview
      • More Omega-3 Innovating in the Future
    • Competitor Profile: The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Melville, New York
      • Company Overview
      • First with Omega-3 Teas
      • The Goji and Acai Berries
      • Spectrum Acquisition Puts Flax Oil in Company's Product Mix
    • Competitive Profile: Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Michigan
      • Company Overview
      • Entering Into DHA Agreement
      • The Kashi Story
      • Innovative R&D Department Does Its Homework
    • Competitor Profile: Nature's Path Foods, Inc., Delta, British Colombia, Canada
      • Company Overview
      • Back to the Drawing Board
      • Organic Granola Gets Hipper at Nature's Path
    • Competitive Profile: Omega Farms, Hayward, California
      • Company Overview
      • Complete Product Line
      • Proprietary Marine Source of Omega-3s
    • Competitive Profile: Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire
      • Company Overview
      • Strong Beliefs in Yogurt's Benefits and the Environment
  • The Retail Market
    • Key Points
      • Shopping Options Are Plentiful; It's a Slow Start for Omega-3s
      • So Where Are Consumers Shopping?
      • Different Types of Retail Outlets
      • Traditional Supermarkets Account for 50.0% of Retail Sales
        • Table Omega-3 Foods and Beverages: Share of Dollar Sales by Outlet, 2006
      • Different Formats Attract Consumers for Their Varied Needs
      • Channel Blurring Continues to Grow
      • Traditional Supermarkets Down in Number
      • Just How Much Can a Store Carry?
      • Who Are the Leading Retailers?
        • Table Top-Five U.S. Discount-Style Food Store Chains, by Dollar Sales and Store Count, 2005
        • Table Top-Three U.S. Niche-Style Food Store Chains, by Dollar Sales and Store Count, 2005
      • Warehouse Clubs
        • Table Comparative Price of Select Omega-3 Foods and Beverages: Supermarket vs. Club Store, 2007
      • Never Under Price
        • Table Retail Price of Select Omega-3 Foods and Beverages, 2007
      • Never Seeing the Inside of a Store
      • How to Get Your Products in Retail Distribution
      • Direct Delivery Advantages
      • The Cost of Face-To-Face Business
      • Advantages of Warehouse Delivery
      • Smaller Marketers Work Through Brokers
      • Introducing Better-for-You Products to the Marketplace
  • The Consumer
    • Key Points
      • Consumer Research on Omega-3s Is Slim
      • How Functional Foods Complement Today's Consumer
      • Consumers Report Making Better-for-You Choices
      • Which Consumers Care the Most About Nutrition, Specifically Fat?
      • Consumers Want to Learn More; Educate Them
      • Two Different Consumers Are Primary Targeted
        • Table Awareness and Consumption of Omega-3s for Certain Health Benefits
    • Consumers Aware About Fat Types and Forms
      • Consumers' Perceptions of Fats
        • Table Consumers' Perceptions of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oils
      • Consumption Trends
        • Table Consumption Trends for Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oils
      • Another Consumer Survey on Dietary Fat Knowledge
      • What Consumers Want
        • Table Nutrients and Substances Americans Want More of in Their Diets, 2006
      • How to Give It to Them
  • New Products and Trends
    • Key Points
      • Flagging Omega-3 Content Slow but Growing
      • Most Claims Are on Fish, Where Omega-3s Are Inherently Present
      • Top-Five Non-Fish Items to be Enhanced with Omega-3s
        • Table Total SKUs Introduced to the U.S. Marketplace with an Omega-3 Tag/Claim, 2002-2006
      • When Fish Is Out, Grain-Based Foods Rule; Followed by Dairy
        • Table Top-Five New SKUs Introduced Carrying an Omega-3 Content Reference, Less Fish SKUs, 2002-2006
    • Development Trends
      • Consumers Want Omega-3s
      • Marketers Embrace Omega-3s in Product Formulations
      • Not All Marketers Acknowledge Research on ALA vs. DHA and EPA
      • The Trend Toward DHA and EPA
      • Omega-3s-In Any Way, Shape, and Form-Is the Trend
    • New Products in 2005 and 2006
      • Initial New Products Are Grain-Based and Contain ALA
      • As Noted, Bars Are Big Business
      • This Bar Is for Moms-to-Be
      • Some Whole Grain Pasta Includes ALA
      • Bread Rolls Out with DHA and EPA
      • Cookies Get Enriched, Too
      • Frozen Pizza Delivers DHA and EPA via the Crust
      • Fats and Oils Formulated with Both Groups of Omega-3s
      • All Types of Omega-3 Eggs in the Marketplace
      • ALA from Walnuts and Cranberry Seed Oil
      • Dairy Foods Are Seeing Lots of DHA and EPA Activity
      • First Full Line of Dairy Comes Out During Spring 2006
      • Omega-3, Plus More Good Stuff
      • What Works in Cows Milk Works in Buffalo Milk and Soymilk, Too
        • Table New Products with Omega-3 Claims/Tags, 2006
    • International New Product Highlights
      • Canada Is at the Forefront of Omega-3 Enrichment
      • Nutri-Kids Makes Mom and Kids Happy with Nutrition-2-Go
      • European Countries Are Beginning to Embrace Omega-3s, Too
      • Omega-3s Boom in Other Countries Around the World
  • Omega-3 Suppliers
  • Marketers

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