The omega-3 market continues to evolve, yielding new products, combinations, and even new stories for some of the more established ingredients. The good news is the interest in omega-3s is steady these days, with many experts supporting their benefits for a wide range of health conditions.
#1 – Targeting Millennials
Millennials, those who were born after 1980, make up 25% of the US population, and their spending power in enormous, at $600 billion. They are smart, savvy, particular, technologically advanced, and they spend 2X more than Baby Boomers on self-care. And the best part? More than one-third of this generation is more open to alternative medicine vs. the general population (Source:Social Nature/NBJ Summit 2017).
Because omega-3s are important for everyone at each phase of their lives, millennials are ideally positioned for omega-3 messages that resonate with them – they are in college, they are parents and they are professionals. It is in these phases of life where omega-3s could have a significant impact. Just remember, although they search, click and share content regularly, 47% of them are also blocking ads.
#2 - The More the Merrier
One of the most recent trends is pairing omega-3s with several different ingredients to take advantage of a similar or complementary health benefit. Even within the category, companies are using several different omega-3 sources to yield a more comprehensive offering. A good example of this is combining omega-3 fish oil and krill oil in one product.
Another example of this is krill oil plus vitamin K2. These ingredients fall under the heart health umbrella and make sense in a combination product. Another perfect combination especially for the winter months is krill oil and vitamin D. Whatever the combination, omega-3s seem to be universally accepted ingredients across a wide range of health benefits.
But even on its own, krill oil features a natural combination of complementary nutrients such as the omega-3s EPA and DHA, as well as phospholipids, choline and astaxanthin. It could be considered nature’s combination formula.
#3 - Form = Function, and Personal
As omega-3s face commoditization, many companies are looking deeper into their formulations to see what other advantages their ingredient might have over another. An example of this is krill oil’s phospholipid advantage.
The fact that a large portion of krill’s omega-3s are bound to phospholipids is a major differentiator vs. other omega-3s. This is because the phospholipids are the means by which EPA and DHA are carried into the blood, tissues and organs. This in turn impacts omega-3 levels in the body as measured by the Omega-3 Index. Because each person has their own unique omega-3 needs, it is important for consumers to know their omega-3 level so they can supplement accordingly. Omega-3s just got personal.
#4 - Dosage & Delivery
How omega-3s are delivered has come a long way in just a decade. Category demand has spurred innovations such as gummies, tasty emulsions, enteric coated capsules and microencapsulation.
Even in newer categories such as krill oil, companies are experimenting with different delivery mechanisms and concentrations.
For example, krill oil is already available as a gummy and as a concentrate. Created using a novel processing technology, krill oil products have become more appealing to brand owners, encapsulators, formulators, and consumers.
Read more about: how to choose the right omega-3s
#5 - The Sustainable Difference
When it comes to omega-3s, manufacturers should look at products that come from marine sources and that are also sustainable and traceable. Very few marine omega-3 ingredients are sustainable, and almost none are traceable. One exception is Superba Krill, which is both sustainable and traceable as certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). In the very near future, being sustainable will not only be the right thing to do, but the ONLY thing to do when it comes to marine sourced omega-3s.