Cargill casts line into omega-3s pool

Ingredients giant Cargill is about to join other major suppliers such as Cognis and DSM in the ultra-hot fish-oils supply market that analyst Euromonitor predicts will be worth more than $1.7 billion by 2010.

Cargill said it will target functional foods and beverages with its encapsulated omega-3 ingredient, a market Packaged Facts predicts will more than triple from $2 billion to $7 billion by 2011 in the US alone for all omega-3 sources.

"We are entering this market by trying to solve the food industry's problems with omega-3s," Cargill product manager, Dave Lewis, told FF&N ahead of the ingredient's launch at Vitafoods in Geneva in May. "Cargill's history and background is in foods so our approach to solving these problems leverages our knowledge about how food companies operate. Our approach for the food industry takes into account what fish eat, how oil is extracted, where and how it is refined, how it is stored, the antioxidants used, packaging types, prototype development, scale-up in food-pilot facilities, consumer-marketing knowledge, and integration into existing food-manufacturing operations."

Cargill will use trout and saithe sources, offer a 1:1 EPA/DHA ratio, and deliver doses of up to 150mg. "The first areas we are focusing on are breads and yoghurts," Lewis said. "We are developing solutions behind other applications as well."

Leading fish-oils supplier, Ocean Nutrition Canada (ONC), welcomed Cargill's entry. "We see the entry of a player like Cargill as a good thing for the industry," ONC founder and CEO, Robert Orr, told FF&N. "They have the muscle to make things happen, spread awareness and bring new food players into the market, and that can only be a good thing. They will make all of us sharpen up our games. We like a challenge at ONC and Cargill will certainly provide that."

Vitafoods also saw the debut of another fish-oils ingredient from Croda Health Care, which combines DHA and EPA with the less-familiar docosapentaenoic acid, said to have cardiovascular and other health benefits.

Also, see Business Strategies.

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