Heading into 2024, the omega-3 space is primed for disruption. The last year has seen significant supply chain challenges and consumers are still feeling the sting of inflation. On the bright side, there is growth in emerging categories like cognitive health and beauty from within, as well as opportunity in demonstrating value to consumers with unique value propositions.
Here is a deeper dive into these trends and how they can attract new consumers to the omega-3 space.
Dietary Industry Trends
Beauty from Within
This is an emerging category with surprising growth in the brick-and-mortar, mass-market channel. Increased sales in this channel indicate mainstream appetite for beauty from within. While B vitamins and collagen are the leading ingredients in beauty supplements, omega-3 is indicated in supporting skin health and can be included in unique formulations to meet multiple beauty goals. Omega-3 oil ingredients are currently worth $56MM in annual US sales in the beauty from within category (NBJ 2023).
The mass market channel is historically price sensitive, so it is important that formulations do not become cost prohibitive to consumers. Affordable, plant-based ingredients Like Nutriterra DHA Canola oil can make this category more accessible while keeping margins high.
Omega-3 for cognitive health is a staple. This category has seen consistent growth for the last two years and shows no signs of slowing. This category is currently worth $256 MM in the US expected to grow over 8% this year, and omega-3 remains the largest volume ingredient in this space.
Omega-3 is well known for its role in supporting cognitive health, particularly in early brain development and maintaining cognitive function as we age. What is new here for omega-3 is the chance to play well with others, including emerging ingredients like astaxanthin or lion’s mane mushrooms. Also new is the role of mood in cognitive health, 52% of global consumers find mood enhancing and overall well-being claims appealing (NBJ 2023).
Netflix is trending with a new plant-based docuseries, keeping the health and environmental benefits of plant-forward lifestyle top-of-mind. Mintel product launch studies show that plant-based offerings and plant-based omega-3 volumes are expected to increase 50% by 2030 (Mintel 2023). The mega trends that are driving this are beyond dietary preferences: plant-based omega-3 are perceived as more sustainable than wild-caught fish, and fish oil still presents sensory challenges.
Brand loyalty is taking a back seat to affordability. However, consumers remain unwilling to compromise quality for price. This presents opportunities for brands to attract new customers by offering more VALUE for their purchase. This can be achieved with plant-based ingredients, sustainable credentials, validated health claims, tastier formulations, or a better price for equal quality.
Sixty-three percent of global consumers are concerned that rising prices will impact their health (FMCG Gurus 2023). Nutriterra provides a plant-based source of omega-3 at a fraction of the cost of other fish oil alternatives, making it possible to support consumers with accessibly priced omega-3.
Supply Chain Trends
More fish in the sea is an adage from days past. 2023 was a record year for limited catch. The supply chain is still catching up from Peru’s cancellation of their first anchovy catch with total catch for 2023 down 20% YoY (IFFO 2024). While El Nino and limited catches are cyclical, the overall trend is that demand for fish oils is outpacing supply. Human nutrition is competing with a rapidly growing aquaculture industry to secure these scarce nutrients. Diversifying the supply chain with novel ingredients like Nutriterra DHA canola oil secure the long-term availability of omega-3 while reducing pressure on marine resources.
While green label exhaustion is real, consumers still want to know they are making responsible purchases. Seventy-seven percent of Generation Z (18-22) say food, drink, and supplement brands should be doing more to protect the planet (FMCG Gurus 2023). While Millennial and Gen X consumers still value the shorthand of third-party certifications, trust is shifting from labels to expecting full transparency directly from brands. Generation Z is looking for a compelling story on company websites and the brands that deliver are rewarded with loyalty.
Nutriterra makes it easy to meet the needs of both these consumers’ preferences. We are Friend of the Sea® certified for our plant-based omega-3 oil, and products with enough content can use this widely recognized and respected label. For consumers who want to dig deeper, we produce our omega-3 canola through stringent stewardship protocols and can trace our supply from soil to oil.