Omega-3s: How to boost nutrition while lowering saturated fat

Linsen Liu
Linsen Liu
Product Development manager,
Oils and Shortenings

Our customers wanted to enrich their products with omega-3 fatty acids — but without the grassy flavor they often impart. Enter Clear Valley® omega-3 oils and shortenings.

Clear Valley omega-3 oil is a unique canola-flax blend that debuted in 2010. It allows food manufacturers to add alpha-linolenic acid products without affecting taste, mouth-feel or shelf life. Its shortening counterpart also boasts superior performance and easy handling.

ALA, an essential fatty acid, is a more economical omega-3 than DHA, its well-known cousin found in cold-water oily fish. Clear Valley omega-3 oil contains up to 30 percent of ALA omega-3 and provides at least 160 milligrams of ALA in most applications.

Customers may be able to claim that their product, when fortified with at least 0.6 grams per serving of Clear Valley omega-3 oil, is a “good” source of heart-healthy ALA omega-3, and can claim it is an “excellent” source with at least 1.2 grams per serving.  Clear Valley oils have no trans fats and only 7.6% saturated fat —an impressive 40% less than soybean oil. In fact, it is one of the lowest percentage of saturated fat of vegetable oils on the market.

To meet increasing consumer demand for omega-3s, we’re working closely with customers to fortify and differentiate fresh-baked goods (eg, bread, muffins) and shelf-stable foods (eg, crackers, breakfast cereal, snack bars, cake and pancake mix) with Clear Valley omega-3 oils and shortenings.  It's also been added to margarine, mayonnaise, sauces, dressings, coffee creamer and beverages.

The consumer demand for convenient ways to add omega-3s to their diet is expected only to grow. U.S. sales of foods and beverages enhanced with omega-3s have been projected to reach $5.7 billion by 2012.

Clear Valley omega-3 oil is a drop-in solution, requiring no changes to formulation or processing or investment in new equipment. It can simply be swapped for the customer's existing oil. Because it has a clean, neutral flavor, it needs no masking agent and produces no "fishy" odors in the processing plant. Smells like success to me.

Linsen Liu, Product Development manager of Oils and Shortenings, has been with Cargill for 9 of his 30 years in the industry.