Are Omega-3s Poised For Growth in Europe Again?

5 Jun 2012

Growth rates in the European nutritional market have fallen during the past few years and omega-3s are certainly no exception to this trend. In a report commissioned by GOED, Frost & Sullivan estimated that consumption in Europe is only going to increase 2.6% in coming years. Much of this has been attributed to uncertainty about […]

Are Omega-3s Poised For Growth in Europe Again?

Growth rates in the European nutritional market have fallen during the past few years and omega-3s are certainly no exception to this trend. In a report commissioned by GOED, Frost & Sullivan estimated that consumption in Europe is only going to increase 2.6% in coming years. Much of this has been attributed to uncertainty about health claims. A good chunk of the industry’s growth has always come from new product launches, so it makes sense that if it is unclear how to market new products, companies will be less likely to launch products until that uncertainty is cleared up.

Yet Frost & Sullivan’s growth forecasts are based mainly on interviews conducted with industry members, and after all, this is just a forecast. And now with the recent EFSA opinions for omega-3s, we have multiple Article 13 and 14 claims approved, we have a Nutrient Reference Value (NRV), and consumer awareness is already high. So does this mean that growth in the omega-3 market can start increasing again?

In the fortified food market, Europe was an early innovator with omega-3s, but new product launches virtually came to a halt with the financial crisis in 2008. Fast forward four years and we now have consumers who are aware of omega-3s, a way to communicate the benefits to them (claims), and guidance on inclusion levels (NRVs). However, there are multiple food categories in countries throughout Europe where leading brands are not leveraging omega-3s. Food companies should look at this as a prime opportunity to differentiate from their competition. We have consistently seen that in concentrated categories of the food market, a first mover advantage is important. When you have 2-3 leading brands in a category like juices, the brand owners are generally trying to manage their own brand identities and equity as distinct entities from their competitors. So trying to leverage omega-3s into your products could provide some sustainable differentiation for your brand.

Supplement companies have some unique opportunities for new product launches as well. One of the challenges in omega-3s is bringing new users to the category. There is a portion of this non-user base that does not like the technical features of many omega-3 supplements, including pill size, taste, etc. With the new NRV of 250 mg per day, companies can make once-per-day products based on a real nutritional value, but more importantly, they can also use highly concentrated oils to deliver this NRV in a capsule that is one-third the size of a typical fish oil capsule. With new emulsion technologies and new sources of omega-3s, companies also have the opportunity to bring to Europe exciting new products that have found traction in markets around the world. There are also multiple new opportunities for brain and heart health products that are now differentiated from most other nutritional supplements that do not have approved claims. All of this will appeal to new omega-3 consumers and should provide some interesting value for existing users as well.

So we think that if everything continues as-is in the market, we can probably expect growth to continue around 2-3%. However, if a few companies are able to generate success with new product launches, this could lead to a much bigger trend and growth rates sneaking back towards the 8-10% range seen in other regions of the world.

Related tags

Blogs New

Related news

Stevia outpaces aspartame in new product launches

Stevia outpaces aspartame in new product launches

27 Nov 2018

The number of new stevia-sweetened foods and drinks overtook new products with aspartame in 2017, according to global data from Innova Market Insights.

Read more 
Nuts gain from awareness of healthy fats

Nuts gain from awareness of healthy fats

19 Nov 2018

Demand for products containing nuts is on the rise, aided by ongoing research into their health benefits and growing consumer understanding of healthy fats.

Read more 
Cranberries show promise for improved gut health

Cranberries show promise for improved gut health

19 Nov 2018

Researchers are just beginning to understand the link between the gut and many chronic health conditions, leading to growing interest in prebiotic ingredients. According to a new study, cranberries are the latest food to show prebiotic potential.

Read more 
Egg substitutes driven by vegan, allergen-free demand

Egg substitutes driven by vegan, allergen-free demand

13 Nov 2018

Egg replacers have long been used as a way to avoid to the price fluctuations often associated with real eggs, but recently interest has been driven by manufacturer demand for clean label and plant-based ingredients, allowing companies to make more veg...

Read more 
Whey protein on the rise across food categories

Whey protein on the rise across food categories

13 Nov 2018

Whey protein remains the most popular protein ingredient for athletes by far, but numerous whey protein ingredients have emerged over the past few years, in applications that take it well beyond sports nutrition.

Read more 
Could regulation tempt the industry to renew focus on low fat foods?

Could regulation tempt the industry to renew focus on low fat foods?

7 Nov 2018

The UK government aims to cut calories by 20% by 2024 in a range of popular foods, potentially shifting focus back onto foods’ fat content as companies strive to reach this target.

Read more 
Allergen-free foods gain momentum

Allergen-free foods gain momentum

5 Nov 2018

Launches of allergen-free foods have increased in recent years – and not just because of increased prevalence of food allergy.

Read more 
Enzyme technology slashes sugar in fruit juice

Enzyme technology slashes sugar in fruit juice

2 Nov 2018

Israeli researchers have developed a new technology to cut sugar by up to 80% in fruit juice, by using enzymes that boost the fibre content at the same time.

Read more 
What can blockchain do for the food industry?

What can blockchain do for the food industry?

1 Nov 2018

International food companies have started to embrace blockchain technology to help trace food and ingredients all along the supply chain. What are the potential benefits for the industry?

Read more 
The mainstreaming of meat alternatives

The mainstreaming of meat alternatives

26 Oct 2018

Tofu and lentils still have their place in a vegetarian diet, but a new generation of meat alternatives makes it easier than ever for consumers to switch to plant-based options – even the most enthusiastic meat eaters.

Read more