Omega Fats Get Phat

According to a new report from growth consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, food manufacturers all over the world "are rushing to capitalize on the immense potential of using Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as ingredients in functional food and beverage applications." The company's "Global Omega-3 PUFA End-User Analysis" offers insight into the opinions and perceptions of end-users about the use of Omega-3 fatty acids in various applications.

"Food and dietary supplement manufacturers find the Omega-3 mandate especially attractive after several studies have highlighted the deficit of these fatty acids in consumers' diets," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Kathy Brownlie. "Combined with enhanced consumer awareness, self- medication trends, and the increased availability of such products, the future for Omega-3 fatty acid ingredients is very positive."

However, Frost & Sullivan's report concludes that suppliers must have an in-depth understanding of end-users' and potential users' perceptions of Omega-3 ingredients to take advantage of growth opportunities. They also need to carefully monitor the developments of their competitors, many of whom are looking to expand into other application sectors.

An exhaustive knowledge of the end-user base and its specific needs is critical for developing a targeted marketing and sales campaign as well as for satisfactorily meeting customer requirements.

"To be successful, suppliers must be able to work directly and collaboratively with existing and potential customers," says Brownlie. "This will help suppliers improve their proposition to the market and develop a strategic focus for future product developments."

With customers being more aware and educated than ever before, suppliers' success will also depend on providing a complete solution that includes both the product and the service. In fact, providing technical and application support is essential for companies looking to enter the nutraceuticals market. This integrated approach is becoming more common in a number of ingredient sectors.

Companies will also have to work toward dispelling the often negative perceptions associated with using Omega-3 PUFAs in functional food and beverages. Instability problems, fishy tastes or odors in the end products, and problems related to using an oil ingredient in processing are some major end-user concerns.

While ongoing technological innovations and advances are helping change consumer attitudes, particularly with regard to flavor issues, regaining the trust of end users that have had bad experiences in the past will be a difficult task.

Despite the many challenges facing Omega-3 acids, Frost & Sullivan's research reveals that these products have one of the highest growth potentials of all nutraceuticals ingredients competing for a share of the functional food market.

"There are few ingredients that can compete with the wealth of research that supports the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids," concludes Brownlie. "The Omega-3 revolution has just begun and companies that are able to position their products in line with current market demands will be sure to reap the awards."

Global Omega-3 PUFA End-User Analysis, part of the Food and Beverage Ingredients subscription, provides an objective analysis of end users' key purchasing criteria for Omega-3 PUFAs as well as their supplier selection processes. This analysis identifies the key drivers for growth as perceived by end users, thereby helping companies understand whether their critical growth objectives are in line with those of their end users.

If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants an overview of the latest analysis of the Global Omega-3 PUFA End-User Analysis, send an e-mail to Trisha Bradley, Corporate Communications, at trisha.bradley@frost.com with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by e- mail. To browse other Frost & Sullivan studies, visit www.food.frost.com.

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