Three kinds of Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in human physiology: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They come from three main dietary sources (fish, krill and algae). And this year will see the third appearance of the Omega-3 Resource Centre at Vitafoods Europe.
Numerous studies show that Omega-3s offer health benefits at every stage of life. They support healthy foetal growth, and children need them as their brains grow and develop. They can reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower the risk of coronary heart disease. They also offer health benefits for pregnant woman and breastfeeding mothers. In older people, Omega-3s can boost memory and improve mood, focus and sleep.
Partly because of its applicability to consumers in all age groups, the Omega-3 category has seen phenomenal growth over the past two decades. The market today is worth an estimated $1.4 billion at the ingredient level, and continues to grow globally, supported by emerging markets in the Far East. Further growth is expected for at least another five years.
This is largely because the Omega-3 industry is particularly innovative, with a wide range of players continuously developing new products from new sources. Until relatively recently, krill products didn’t exist. Today, krill isn’t far behind fish oil in terms of its global popularity as a source of Omega-3. Contributing to the diversity of the market are purely vegetal sources of Omega-3 from microalgae, which have created new possibilities to reach vegetarian consumers.
At Vitafoods Europe, we provide many ways to learn more about the opportunities offered by Omega-3s. They will be the focus of one of the seven research and development (R&D) Forums in the Vitafoods Education Programme (book before 17 March to secure special Early Bird Rates). Delegates will hear presentations from experts such as Prof Clemens von Schacky of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, who will explain the importance of maintaining Omega-3 levels, as well as demonstrating new technology to detect deficiencies.
On the showfloor, the Omega-3 Resource Centre will be the place to be to be—a focused knowledge hub which we run in association with internationally recognised Omega-3 experts, GOED (the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s). Making its debut in 2015, the resource centre has become an increasingly popular attraction at Vitafoods Europe. This year, you’ll hear expert presentations on market trends (including information such as the volume of ingredients for Omega-3 products), and on the latest R&D, including current expert thinking on the roles of Omega-3s in human physiology. Naturally, you’ll also have the chance to sample a wide range of ingredients and products from GOED members.On the second day of the event, a Consumer Products Panel will discuss strategies for marketing EPA and DHA products in three main sales channels – traditional retail stores, pharmacy retailing, and online selling.
Whether you want to find the right source of Omega-3 for your product, learn more about reaching Omega-3 consumers, or connect with a supply chain partner, the Omega-3 Resource Centre will open up a world of possibilities.
I should add that, at the end of the first day of Vitafoods Europe, GOED will host a drinks reception to celebrate its tenth anniversary (although whether three is the magic number when it comes to cocktails is up to you!)