Europe?s first orange juice fortified with omega-3 DHA has been introduced in the UK. The product, SupaJus: The Think Drink, is being sold in more than 150 health food vending machines in British schools. It retails at about $1.40, comes in a 250ml squeeze pack and will also be on sale in independent health food stores as well as NBTY-owned health chain Holland and Barrett.
While SupaJus? owner, Scottish-based organic juice specialist the Natural Fruit and Beverage Co, acknowledged the juice was being marketed to children, pregnant women and young mothers, its managing director, Gerry Dunn, said it was suitable for consumption by most sectors of the population. ?DHA has benefits for us throughout our lives but obviously when you are designing and packaging a product you have to focus on certain parts of the market,? he said.
?We are working with the vending machine company and Holland and Barrett to promote SupaJus; we have launched a website and are going to be looking at further projects later in the year that might include other formats and sizes,? Dunn said.
Existing on-package marketing emphasises SupaJus is more nutritious than regular orange juice and states that ?Omega-3 DHA is essential for a healthy mind and body.?
Although no official recommended dietary intake exists as yet for DHA, Dunn pointed out that there ?is a scientific acceptance that we need to take in about 200mg of DHA per day.? A 250ml SupaJus pouch contains 100mg of DHA and is also fortified with vitamin E and green tea extract.
The DHA is sourced from Australian firm Nu-Mega Ingredients, and is derived from dolphin-friendly Pacific Ocean tuna that is tested to ensure it is free of heavy metals and other toxins.
Studies have shown DHA can benefit ADHD sufferers; violent, antisocial and impulsive behaviour; general intelligence; and the treatment of dyslexia and dyspraxia. It is estimated the UK schools? vending machine market is worth more than $5 billion per year.
School vending machines are increasingly becoming a battleground in the war on childhood obesity. In the US, major health food company Stonyfield Farm introduced healthy vending machines filled with offerings such as organic yoghurt, string cheese, dried fruit, soy nuts, pita chips as well as other low-fat and low-sugar products, while Nestlé USA recently launched Nesquik-branded machines to ?meet a need for more nutritional beverages in schools.?