Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have cognitive development and eye health benefits. While many companies have masked fish oils for 'adult foods', they have only taken baby steps to put it in children's foods.
Ocean Nutrition's deal with Good Foods Enterprises for the oatmeal, chocolate chip and double chocolate 'Mr Cookie' cookies represents an important step in harnessing good nutritional habits at an earlier age. With 12.5m inhabitants, Ontario is Canada's largest province - but ONC does not plan to stop there. "We hope to have our MEG-3 ingredient in many other products in the school system before the end of the year," said Ian Lucas, in charge of global marketing with ONC.
Mr Cookie contains 25mg of omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and is trans-fat free.
Research suggests EPA also helps manage learning and behavioral problems in children - making it an ideal school-time ingredient.
Omega-3 derived from algae already appears in infant formulas, but masking the smell and taste of fish oil to make it appealing to children has proved a challenge. It is a challenge that ONC believes it has met with the Power-loc double microencapsulation technology that underscores Meg-3.
"Schools that offer Mr Cookie have given children a way to get the goodness of fish, without the taste or smell of fish," said Lucas.ONC also solved the gross-out factor associated with fish oil by creating a friendly blue fish logo for MEG-3.
The move has also been a bonus for Good Foods Enterprises.
"Adding the MEG-3 EPA/DHA ingredient to our product has also increased sales by 75 percent, which has exceeded our expectations," said company president Aman Rajan.