With the tune of the millennium, long-chain fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have brought food application into the cusp of revolution. Omega-3 fatty acids are at the center of attention as they have become a popular dietary supplement-driven product. Fatty acids market size for food applications will surge with bullish trends for omega-3s.

Considering that the human body can produce limited amounts of DHA and EPA and that people fail to consume enough of these omega-3 fatty acids, end-users are in a quest for an array of dietary supplements and functional foods. Of late, the share of saturated fatty acids has spiraled downwards, with companies producing highly concentrated EPA and DHA.

In terms of revenue, global fatty acids market share for food applications will surpass USD 7 billion by 2025.

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Boosting green credentials with omega-3 dietary supplements

Even though omega-3 products–fish–are easily available in the grocery aisle, there is a flourishing assortment of omega supplements. A surging tide of vegetarianism and shifting consumer attitudes toward sustainability will propel the brand value of omega-3 dietary supplements. The future trends indicate companies’ concerted push towards vegetarian products.

Food companies are leaving no stones unturned to propel their green credentials given the flak the harvest of fish oil has received for its carbon footprint and health concerns.

Surging COVID-19 cases encourage consumers to boost the intake

The commercialization of omega-3 fatty acids has picked pace globally. Soaring COVID-19 cases have furthered the urgency to bolster immunity, prompting companies to push the production of omega-3 products. They play a key role in providing energy for the body and have a slew of functions in the body’s immune, cardiovascular, endocrine and pulmonary systems.

Several researchers have vouched for the intakes of both omega-3s and omega-6s for the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Food suppliers are banking on plant oils containing soybean, linseed and canola oils.

Long-chain omega-3 fats are profoundly found in fish and seafood, pivotal for optimal brain development. Legacy players are counting on fish oil and fishmeal which are regarded as the most digestible and nutritious ingredients for fish oil and farmed fish–the richest prevalent source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

Infant formula products are here to stay

Technological advancements in fatty acids have paved the way for omegas’ powders, concentrates and gummies in infant formula products. Even though omega-6s and omega-3s are traditionally known for offering upsides for including eye health, heart and brain, the current global health scenario has encouraged leading companies to emphasize fatty acids, both in terms of volume and value.

Majority of the commercial infant formulas produced use fatty acids such as arachidonic acid (ARA) and DHA. With plant-based omegas foraying into the market, infant formula products will potentially be appealing to the masses.

Algal oil has become trendier among consumers who vie to add DHAs as an important fatty acid to their diet. Given that algae can reduce the risk of fishy smell, formulators are likely to seek algal oil in developing omega-3 solutions.

Evonik expanded its omega-3 powder portfolio in September 2020 to help companies grow fish oil or algal-based formulations. They have reportedly developed the product with high DHA algae for cognition function, infant development and eye health.

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Stakeholders root for product rollouts and innovations

With organic omega-3s coming to the fore, startups and leading companies are not shying away from launching products. To illustrate, Eversea announced the rollout of what it calls the world’s first and only organic Omega-3 DHA chewable for children in February 2021. They claim the ingredient to be ocean-based keeping heavy industrial processes, chemical process additives and solvents at bay.

Legacy players are gearing to gain a competitive edge, driven by innovations and product launches. DSM launched vegetarian sources of DHA omega-3 and ARA omega-6 for infants in April 2020. They claim the powder is produced with algae-sourced DHA and ARA oils.

Novosana teamed up with LUS to develop and distribute sustainable omega-3 products across Europe. They contemplate launching an array of products, such as vegan soft gels and omega 3 to 1 DHA-to-EPA formulas.

Customers have upped the consumption of supplements, such as omega-3s and omega-6s amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales are likely to zoom across Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific. Fatty acids market profile for food applications will foster in the years to come.

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