The Maryland-based company announced today that it has signed an exclusive license and supply agreement with Hain Celestial for its DHA and ARA to be used in the latter's recently launched Earth's Best formula, and the two companies are also looking to extend their relationship into other food products.
The news follows earlier similar agreements with cereal giants General Mills and Kellogg's, both of which are understood to be developing unspecified omega-3-containing products at the moment.
In both of these cases, there are no minimum purchase requirements, which means that they may test the water with product introductions without making firm, long-term commitments.
Datamonitor's ProductScan lists 308 skus of omega-3 products launched in the US market in 2005 - whether from a marine or a vegetarian source - compared to 171 in 2004. This growth, plus rising consumer awareness of the growing body of scientific evidence on their benefits for heart health, cognitive function, and joint health, points towards positive reception.
As for infant formula, Martek currently claims an 80 percent share of the US ARA and DHA market in this sector. A company representative had not returned NutraIngredients-USA.com's call prior to publication with an indication of whether this share had now increased with the Hain Celestial agreement. Neither is it known how the news may affect the company's financial performance.
Martek's long term plan has been to grow-up with consumers of its microalgae-derived omega-3s, from infant formulas, through children's products and into foods aimed at the wider population.
Last November Martek announced that it had developed a new, lower-cost product, which CFO Pete Buzy told NutraIngredients-USA.com would open the door for more food applications.