Last year, the company launched Ingrevita, an EPA/DHA Omega-3 product that is a blend of high oleic canola oil, fish oil and antioxidants that can be added to snack products and baked goods, such as tortilla chips and crackers.
At the 2015 American Association of Cereal Chemists, Leo Manning, a business development manager of specialty seeds and oils at Cargill, spoke with BakeryandSnacks about the product and the possibility of a breakout year for omega-3s in snacks.
BakeryandSnacks: Tell me about this product
Leo Manning: The product is called Ingrevita, or ingredient of life … This is a shelf stable oil for chips, bread, tortillas and other snacks. It’s the first in a line of omega-3 offerings from Cargill. The next generation will be launched in the next three to five years and will be based off canola oils.
BAS: Why omega-3 oil?
LM: Heart health, brain development and cholesterol. Omega-3s are recognized by probably 80% of consumers as having health benefits. There’s reams of data talking about how omega-3s help with cholesterol, cardio vascular health as well as brain development … This product is fish oil-based, but there are also other sources of omega-3s, like those that come in flax. But those are not a very bio-available omega-3.
The USDA recommends 400-500mg a day of omega-3s. With Ingrevita, we’re trying to incorporate it in a few products you eat every day so you wouldn’t have to supplement. It’s trying to get it in your diets in healthy foods, as most diets in the US are deficient of omega-3s.
BAS: Have you noticed more manufacturers looking for these kinds of products?
LM: Yes. The challenge with the food manufacturers is they’ve looked at fish oil in the past but it hasn’t been shelf stable. Or it has a fishy taste. If the flavor isn’t there, the manufacturers aren’t going to incorporate it in their food products. They know it’s needed but it’s been a very challenging application from a processing and cost standpoint. It’s expensive, but our product is very cost effective… We’re looking at probably half a cent to a penny to fortify it with this omega-3 oil.
BAS: Have manufacturers taken to this product in its first year?
LM: Yes, we’ve had a lot of interest. Dairy and beverage manufactures have also shown interest. There’s a lot of omega-3 in products like infant formula and spread and milk. You see it more and more; you see more labels with omega-3 but it could be from different oils. There’s a lot in supplements but not as much in food.
BAS: We’ve seen a lot of omega 3s in supplements and formulas, but we haven’t seen it too much in the snack industry yet..
LM: You will, you will. You’ll see them. A lot of times in snack foods, you’ll see flax seeds on tortilla chips. That will be an omega-3 oil but ALA isn’t going to have the same health benefits as EPA/DHA. This will be more for a spray oil for a cracker or chip. You’ll see them mostly in seasoning that go on chips or crackers. You spray them with oil to extend shelf life and have seasoning adhere to them. We’re targeting crackers with a healthier connotation, like a Triscuit or a higher end cracker versus just a saltine.
We’re [also targeting] a good tortilla chip or the non-GMO type of product on the market versus a standard chip. More of the niche brands, the growing mid-tier brands selling at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Those are the type of customers we’re focusing on.
BAS: Will it ever move into the mainstream as well?
LM: Yes, as long as the cost differential isn’t great. If you see a loaf of bread for $3 and omega-3-fortified bread for $6, the consumer won’t pay for that upcharge. What we’re doing, there is no flavor impact, there’s minimal cost impact and there’s nothing affecting shelf life. It’s a winning combination. It’s just a matter of getting it ingrained in the food manufactures.