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Omega-3s: 
health benefits and delivery forms

corresponding

TERRI ALBERT
Catalent Pharma Solutions, 14 Schoolhouse Road, Somerset, NJ 08873, USA

Abstract

Omega-3 products are becoming increasingly popular with consumers because of their perceived health benefits. This article looks at the types and sources of omega-3 oils, documented claims for health benefits and considerations that must be taken into account when using them in manufacturing processes. It will also cover the different types of delivery formats that are available.


In the past couple of decades, consumers have become much more aware about the health benefits that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) can provide (1). As a result, the market for products that contain them has increased dramatically. Global demand for omega-3 products totalled US$1.6 billion in 2010, according to a report published in 2013 by Transparency Market Research, a figure that is predicted to rise to more than $4bn by 2018 – a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent (2). Although currently the largest market for omega-3s is North America, the balance is tilting and the market size in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to surpass it by 2018.

In the retail market, according to a 2011 report from Packaged Facts, infant formula remains the largest category, followed by fortified food and drinks, with omega-3 supplements in third place and representing about 13 percent of the market (3). However, although this proportion is relatively small, in reality the omega-3 represents a much higher proportion of the retail price of a supplement than in a food product, and thus it is a particularly important sector for omega-3 suppliers.

There are many d ...