Research has shown that fatty acids and nutritional oils may benefit cognition, weight management, heart health, eye and brain development, and even mood. As a result, they have jumped into the limelight for these potential benefits, making the inclusion of fats in the diet more appealing. Here is a look at some of these functional fats.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are associated with brain development, cognition, eye health, dementia, and depression. They are widely known for their heart health benefits. Researchers de Oliveira Otto et al. (2013) showed that EPA and DHA from seafood were inversely associated with cardiovascular disease incidence, suggesting that increased consumption may help prevent risk development in a multiethnic population.
North America has the largest number of dairy launches using omega-3 claims, with nearly 35% of the global total, according to Innova Market Insights, Duiven, the Netherlands (www.innovadatabase.com) (Innova, 2014). In the United States there is rising interest in omega-3-fortified milk, with Innova’s data indicating that nearly 8% of milk launches in the U.S. in the 12 months ending October 2013 featured omega-3 claims.
In addition to dairy, there is plenty of room for innovation using omega-3s in products for consumers of all ages. This is in part thanks to the advancements in omega-3 ingredient developments. At the 2014 IFT Food Expo, BASF Nutrition & Health, Florham Park, N.J. (www.newtrition.basf.com), showcased a graham cracker and a chocolate almond butter spread that were both formulated with omega-3 fatty acids. “These were among our most popular prototypes and, in fact, one attendee called them ‘IFT gold,’” says Elsie Jamin-Maguire, Business Manager, Foods & Beverages, at BASF Nutrition & Health.
BASF Nutrition & Health offers Omevital ™ 1812 TG Gold (fish oil, minimum 30% omega-3); Omevital 1050 TG Gold (fish oil concentrate, minimum 61% omega-3 as TG, DHA rich); Dry n-3 ® 12 Food (microencapsulated fish oil rich in omega-3); and Dry n-3 DHA 11 (microencapsulated fish oil rich in DHA). Omevital TG Gold oils are specially deodorized for food and beverage applications. The Dry n-3 microencapsulated EPA- and DHA-rich ingredients are produced in Denmark using a microencapsulation technology, which results in an ingredient with excellent flowability and high stability.
DSM, Parsippany, N.J. (www.dsm.com/human-nutrition), in 2013 launched life’sOMEGA ™ 60, a high-potency vegetarian DHA and EPA omega-3 oil developed from a sustainable algal source. The ingredient is said to provide all the benefits of life’sDHA ™ with additional EPA, resulting in an ingredient that is a higher-potency, more sustainable alternative to fish and krill oils. DSM’s portfolio also includes life’sDHA and MEG-3 ® fish oil. MEG-3 is sourced from wild-caught, sustainable fisheries that adhere to the strict regulations of government agencies in the Peruvian upwelling region.
In June 2014, Enzymotec Ltd., Migdal HaEmeq, Israel (www.enzymotec.com), launched Omega PC ™ fish oil–based omega-3 ingredient, a wild, cold fish extract containing omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids and triglycerides. The omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids have been shown to be absorbed better than triglyceride-bound omega-3 fatty acids. The better absorption leads to better efficacy and to higher accumulation of omega-3 fatty acids in target organs.