Omega-3 for pregnancy captures formulators' attention, Mintel

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Global new products New products database Folic acid Omega-3 fatty acid

Supplement makers are hearing the news about the benefits of
omega-3 during pregnancy, suggest data from Mintel, which lists
more pregnancy-specific product launches in 2006 than in previous

A body of recent research has highlighted the role of essential fatty acids, in particular DHA, of which fish oil is said to be the best source, in development of the foetus.

A search of products using terms such as pregnant, pregnancy and expectant in Mintel's Global New Products Database​ showed up 14 launches (including variants) of supplements aimed specifically​ at pregnant women in Europe, compared to four in 2005 and six in 2004.

Of these 14, six mention omega-3, DHA, or fish oil in their product descriptions.

The inclusion of fish oils and essential fatty acids in products for pregnant women is not new. There are incidences of products containing these ingredients launched in 1997 (the earliest year reviewed) from Efamol in the UK, for example, and the Natalience dietary supplement from Lero in France in 2003.

But use of the words 'omega-3' and 'fish oil' in materials suggests marketers realise there is greater awareness of these terms and the health benefits of the ingredients.

Other nutrients that crop up regularly in formulations aimed at the pregnancy market are folic acid, understood to help prevent neural tube defects, vitamin B12, calcium and iron.

Interestingly, a couple of products came to light that are aimed at helping women return their bodies to pre-baby appearance.

For instance, Laboratoires Expascience's Mustela Body Restructuring Tablets, launched in France in 2006, claims to "help restructure the body after pregnancy and birth" and "remove fat from skin and remodel the body through drainage and elimination"​.

A rosehip oil launched in The Netherlands by Rio is said to "erase stretch marks and scars obtained during pregnancy"​.

Some manufacturers have also looked beyond the women's market in an effort to differentiate products, making pre-conception his 'n' hers products to draw in the fathers, too.

The Pregnancy Shop introduced VitaFem and VitaMen in the UK in 1999. Also in the UK, Nourish launched a 4-month Conception Conditioning Programme "designed to improve reproductive health"​.

Data source: Mintel's Global New Products Database​.

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