Glanbia debuts omega-3 ingredient in Europe

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ingredients Omega-3 fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid

Specialty ingredients supplier Glanbia Nutritionals has launched
its first omega-3 ingredients in Europe in a move that will see it
target functional foods and beverages.

The ingredients come in two forms - one a combination of algae and flax, the other a fish oil and flax blend - with both ingredients coming in a variety of "mesh sizes" (granule size).

Called MeadowPure O3 Ultra, the ingredients form part of Canadian supplier Pizzey's Nutritionals stable of mainly flax-based ingredients which Glanbia purchased in September 2007.

The ingredients were launched by Pizzey's in early 2007 and have been employed in various products in North America.

Markets and applications Glanbia Nutritionals programme manager Sorcha Madigan said the ingredients were being aimed at confectionery, beverages, juices, smoothies, health bars and bakery applications.

The vegetarian algae/flax version that contains only ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) will also target the children's nutrition market that is typically wary of fish-derived ingredients.

The other ingredient also contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Madigan said the company had been working with more than 20 European food and beverage companies with end-product launches expected this year with the UK the first port of call and northern and mainland Europe set to follow.

MeadowPure had been offered as a branded ingredient in North America and backed by a consumer education campaign, but a different strategy was required in Europe, she observed.

"Consumers in Europe are better educated and so a B2B approach is being pursued although end-product branding is an option if our customers so wish," she said.

The offerings Glanbia said the ingredients are flavour-neutral, possess oxidative stability and benefited from the synergies of combining flax (ALA) with fish (DHA and EPA) and algae-sourced (DHA) omega-3s.

"The Ultra product range offers the benefits of all three omega-3's ALA, EPA and DHA," said Madigan.

"This means food companies don't have to be concerned about being challenged on which omega-3s they are offering.

The ingredient also tastes great in different applications including bakery, bars and beverages."

The company pointed out that flax has health benefits in addition to due heart health claims usually made for omega-3s due to its lignan and fibre content said to promote a healthy heart, skin and hair.

The ingredients were also high in fibre.

"This offers maximum versatitlity for manufacturers," the company said.

Other health benefits associated with omega-3 consumption include inflammation, joint and bone health, menopause, aging and obesity.

There were 723 omega-3 containing products launched in Europe in 2008 compared with 541 in the US according to market researcher, Mintel.

In 2006 there were 562 launches in Europe and 584 in the US.

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