Mintel insights: Navigating the future of omega-3 fatty acids

As he noted, the myriad of health benefits associated with omega-3, including its role in coronary heart disease​, mental health​, infant development​, oral health​, and even blood pressure regulation​, is well established.  

And while new omega-3 product launches in Europe are reportedly low in comparison to those in Asia and America, he explained that it is not a market that is slowing down in terms of consumer appetite: “Despite the slower pace of new launches in Europe, consumer interest is growing, particularly in functional food and drinks.”

“Mintel’s consumer research has shown that around 30% of consumers report consuming functional food and drink that contain omega-3 fatty acids.

“So not only is global demand growing, but consumers are telling us that they’re actually consuming these products.”

Supply concerns 

As global demand for omega-3 rises, concerns about scarcity and overfishing have taken centre stage, Miller explained. 

“The main industry insecurity stems from issues with our desire to overfish the species that give us loads of omega-3, as omega-3 fatty acids typically come from marine sources.

“Additionally, due to climate change and the warming of sea temperatures, there might now be a drop in the naturally occurring levels of algae, when it comes to plant-based omega-3. 

“However, there are some naturally occurring plant-based sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is sometimes coined the omega-3 of plants, and things like chia, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds are all potential sources.”