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Supplements & functional ingredients


The US is the largest market for omega-3 supplements, with Europe second.


been published that could further boost the awareness of their health benefits in the minds of consumers. In 2020, GOED estimated that the global market for finished products containing EPA and DHA omega-3s reached $44bn, and growth is expected to continue.


“The antioxidant strength of astaxanthin has been compared to other carotenoids and it has always been shown to have been much greater.”


Alan Levine


Supporting this growth is the decision, made by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019, not to object to the use of certain qualified health claims about the consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids – including the claim that their use in food or as dietary supplements may reduce the risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease. Though no direct impact of this decision has been observed yet, it could lay the platform for market expansion across the world.


$44bn


The value of the global market for finished products containing EPA and DHA omega-3s in 2020.


GOED 16


“While the industry saw the qualified health claim approval as a win, we have yet to see it used on a product package,” notes Schutt. “The US is the largest market for omega-3 supplements, with Europe second. However, emerging markets in South East Asia, China and other Rest of World regions are driving market growth. Some countries – like the US and Australia – are simply more open to taking supplements, while for many other countries, particularly in Europe, it’s just not part of the culture.”


Omega-3 use in some sectors has seen solid growth, particularly in pet foods and infant formula. The premium pet food and pet supplement market has benefited from what Schutt describes as the ‘humanisation’ of pets, with consumers looking for


attributes of their own food to be found in what they feed their pets.


“The food and beverage category has been stagnant for some time,” she remarks. “While technology advances have solved many of the sensory and processing issues, there is still a cost challenge when trying to incorporate an efficacious dose into a food product.”


Carpe diem


It is clear that there is scope for much wider use of supplements sourced from the sea, whether or not they already have established global markets. The bump in sales driven by the pandemic shows that consumer awareness is growing and could result in long-term changes in personal healthcare. “Hopefully newcomers to the supplement category will realise the important role supplements play in overall health and will continue to use them post- pandemic,” says Schutt. With astaxanthin, many different types are now hitting the market, so Levine is keen to ensure that consumers are maximising the health benefits of taking the supplement – including the right dosage. “Our main focus is to educate consumers, and the media, about the vast difference in the number and types of studies and trials behind the different types of astaxanthin,” he remarks. “In addition to the clinical trials, there have been eight head-to- head trials that show the superiority of algae- based astaxanthin over other types. Safety is also a concern, and only algae-based astaxanthin has a sufficient safety record to be approved in all major markets around the world.”


Now is the time to educate health-conscious consumers on natural marine supplements that can both treat and prevent many ailments – this is a top priority for the world’s population. ●


Ingredients Insight / www.ingredients-insight.com


Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com


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