Dairy Crest to ride omega-3 trend

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acids, Nutrition, Omega-3 fatty acid

A third omega-3 enhanced spread is being planned by UK's Dairy
Crest - a move which rubber stamps the increasing trend for food
companies to take advantage of the health benefits of the fish oil.

According to Mintel, more than 1,000 products were launched worldwide last year containing omega-3, with the biggest sectors coming from dairy, bakery and processed meats and fish. In the past five years more than 3,000 omega-3 products have been launched worldwide, with Europe dominating the market, according to Mintel's Global New Product Database​. In the three years between 2003 and 2006, European launches increased from 61 to 404. Latest figures show Europe is still leading the way for fish oil enhanced products. In 2006 it topped the poll with 404 launches, with North America at a close second, producing 313 new products. Asia Pacific came in at 286, Latin America 109 and Middle East and Africa at 13 . Mintel consultant Carla Ogeia told NutraIngredients.com that consumer awareness of the benefits of omega-3 was driving launches of products containing the fatty acid. "Omega-3 is one of those ingredients consumers are more familiar with and they know of its benefits. "I think consumers also feel this works if it is launched with a well known brand that is trusted." ​ A new trend within Europe was developing, Ogeia added, as increasing omega-3 enriched foods were aimed at the brain health market more so than heart health. Ogeia said: "I believe this is something we will see more and more of, and we have already seen this in Asia​." Last year processed meats and fish saw 276 launches, dairy 182 and baby food 133 globally. Ogeia said: "Dairy products are a good vehicle for delivery. However, we are also seeing an increase in bakery as well." ​ Bakery products saw 155 launches, breakfast cereals 35 and spreads 20. Dairy Crest has already released one omega-3 spread under the banner of St Ivel in 2005. It also has an omega-3 spread under the French brand St Hubert, which it acquired earlier this year. The company declined to comment further on the spread until it was officially launched. However, a spokesperson told NutraIngredients.com its release was "imminent." Chief executive Mark Allen is reported to have this week said that omega-3 will be a success for the company, if it is combined to a "bigger brand in our portfolio." It is thought the new release will come under either Utterly Butterly, Country Life or Clover brands. The current lone of omega-3 in St Ivel is expected to be continued. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to aiding heart and mental health, as well as bone health. Just last month Premier Foods launched Branstein, baked beans with added omega-3 fatty acids. According to Frost & Sullivan, the European omega-3 market - worth around €160m (£108m) in 2004 - is expected to grow at rates of 8 per cent on average to 2010.

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