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Functional foodstuffs: The challenge of omega-3 in finished products

By Nathan Gray in Frankfurt, 15-Nov-2012

Related topics: Suppliers, Research

The challenge of getting beneficial omega-3 fatty acids into finished products is a big one for the food ingredients and manufacturing industry. But how can suppliers and manufacturers work to get these ingredients into a wider range of products?

Demand for the incorporation of nutritional lipids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, into finished products is growing strongly. Yet the industry still faces a battle to get these functional oils into a form that is stable and useful for finished product manufacturers, says Dr Rob Winwood, manager scientific communications at DSM Nutritional Products

Speaking with us at HiE in Frankfurt, and ahead of the 10th Practical Short Course in Omega-3 and Nutritional Lipids – also in Frankfurt – Winwood explained that a lot of European consumers would generally prefer to receive key nutrients in a natural foodstuff rather than a supplement.

“We have ongoing challenges with that,” said the DSM expert, who notes that such long chain fatty acids are fairly unstable and prone to oxidation.

“We always have to play the game of trying to make sure that there is nothing to initiate that oxidation process. Because once it starts, you can’t stop it,” he added.

“I think it’s true to say that when we first started encapsulating fish oil to make powders, they were not particularly good and were not particularly stable,” Winwood said, noting that encapsulation techniques have now developed to allow much more secure and stable encapsulation of such lipids.