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What makes consumers choose a specific omega-3 supplement?

Omega-3 Phospholipids

6 min. read


We all want to be healthy, right? Of course, we do. The challenge, however is to decide what steps we want to take to get there. Over the past decade the consumption of health supplements has risen significantly and none more so than in the taking of omega-3s. But this growth is not down to fanciful claims by companies – the recognized health benefits of omega-3s have been documented in more than 30,000 publications.

With so many companies out there offering supplements, how do consumers decide on which type of omega-3 supplements are right for them? This might be different to what you as a supplement producer looks for when choosing your ingredients. However, your choices should be motivated by the consumer thought process. It is only those organisations that meet the exact demands of the consumer that thrive in an increasingly challenging market.

Reflux and smell

Consumers are looking for products that are easy to take. As an omega-3 product seller, one of the biggest problems with traditional marine omega-3s is the fishy aftertaste consumers experience after taking the capsules. Reflux is an important factor for consumers - nobody wants to take something in the morning that gives you a fishy aftertaste or burps.

An unpublished consumer survey showed that 66% of German consumers and 37% of British consumers want an alternative to traditional omega-3 supplements because of stomach discomfort and large capsule size.

To address the needs of these consumers, an omega-3 oil that is in form of phospholipids will be the right choice. In traditional marine omega-3 supplements the omega-3s are mainly bound to triglycerides, which do not mix well with water and give the consumer some discomfort after consumption.  

Read more: What are phospholipids and why should you care?

One of the phospholipid omega-3s available is krill oil. Krill oil has gained popularity with consumers over the last years, who have enjoyed the health benefits of an omega-3 ingredient, without having to deal with fishy aftertaste or reflux. Phospholipids mix well with water, so krill oil mixes with the stomach contents and does not sit on the top, which gives the fishy aftertaste. Choosing an ingredient bound to phospholipids is therefore beneficial when looking for an ingredient that does not give the consumer the problems of reflux and smell.

Video: Watch why consumers prefer the comfort of krill omega-3s

Traceable and sustainable

As consumers become more knowledgeable, they don’t just want products that are good for their health – the health of the planet is also a significant consideration. Nowadays, consumers are increasingly demanding more information about where their products come from and the conditions under which they are made.

One organisation that ensures that a product is sustainable and traceable is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). According to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), it is critical for globally traded commodities to know where sources are coming from as it protects the buyer and the fishery itself from fraudulently-labelled goods. Product integrity and reliability claims as to sustainability are ensured and the MSC-certified fishery of origin receives due credit for responsible conduct. This means consumers can be confident that those supplements which carry the MSC eco-label are a certified sustainable product.



An increasing awareness around the sustainability of products has made consumers more demanding when picking their supplements. They want to see companies operating in a manner that does not compromise the health of the planet and its oceans.

Krill represent the cornerstone of the entire Antarctic food chain, so knowing how much of the biomass is caught each year is vital. This is why the fishery is strictly regulated and fisheries operating in the Antarctic have to report their catch to the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an international commission with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life.

Read more on how to manage a sustainable krill fishery

CCAMLR uses a precautionary, ecosystem-based approach designed to prevent krill fishing that will have a negative impact on a harvested species or other species in the ecosystem. Fishing is restricted to a specific region of the Southern Ocean called Area 48. The management of the fishery is robust, as the consensus of 25 governments is needed to change any of the fishery regulations in the Antarctic.

Krill oil, the answer to consumers needs

An omega-3 ingredient that meets both discussed needs of consumers is Superba Krill oil. The omega-3 krill oil from Superba is filled in small capsules which are easy to take, cause no fishy aftertaste or digestion discomfort and are 100% traceable and sustainable. As one of the most researched krill oil brands on the market, Superba Krill has shown great promise in effectiveness and is an omega-3 ingredient that you can trust.

Understanding consumer needs and offering a product that will satisfy consumer problems is essential in today's saturated omega-3 market. Therefore companies need to understand that not all omega-3s are the same and that the differences in the details will determine the success of an omega-3 supplement in today’s market.