National survey results support marketing the fish oil's health benefits
By Fiona Robinson, SeaFood Business Magazine
that have promoted the omega-3 fatty acid content of their products or fortified their products with the fish oil now have solid evidence that consumers are aware of the oil's health benefits.
More than half
of adult consumers are familiar with omega-3 fish oil, according to a nationwide survey.
The study, conducted by food industry research company Applied Biometrics, also found that more than a quarter of those
familiar with the fish oil believe it has health-promoting benefits. Additionally, 44 percent said they would consider eating a product or supplement with omega-3s.
The survey also revealed that the
following percentages of respondents think omega-3s have a positive effect in several areas of health:
- 13 percent, heart;
- 12 percent, cholesterol;
- 5 percent, bio-availability;
- 5 percent, arthritis;
- 5 percent, skin;
- 3 percent, vision;
- 2 percent, energy; and
- 2 percent, alertness
The survey was
conducted via telephone interviews last autumn. In all, 500 adults were screened about their nutritional concerns.
The consumers most likely to have heard of omega-3 have some or more college education, are
females between the ages of 35 and 64 or have an annual household income over $40,000.
"This puts the awareness of omega-3s on par with antioxidants," says Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan, president of
"With omega-3 awareness this high among mainstream consumers, it is clearly time for health-conscious food manufacturers to begin capitalizing on the potential health-promoting
benefits offered by fish oil."
Some seafood companies have already begun marketing the health benefits of omega-3s on their products.
Campbell, Calif.-based Aqua-cuisine redesigned its packaging
to highlight products fortified with omega-3s, including its salmon and tuna burgers.
"There has never been a better time for marketing omega-3," says Joe von Rosenberg, president and CEO of Omega
Protein in Houston.
Omega Protein markets its omega-3-rich refined menhaden oil under the OmegaPure brand.
It is the only omega-3 oil to receive Food and Drug Administration approval as a
direct ingredient for human consumption. Omega-3s are used to fortify non-seafood products like bread, margarine, ice cream, salad dressings, cereals, soups, sauces and prepared foods.