Ocean Nutrition co-brands with Unilever spread

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Ocean Nutrition Canada has secured co-branding for
its omega-3 with Unilever Canada's Becel spreads, representing a
high-profile marketing coup with a known household brand.

Unilever Canada has just introduced the latest in its line of so-called heart healthy Becel spreads - Becel Omega-3 Plus. The branding giant says it is the first North American spread manufacturer to add the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, to its spreads. The deal is no small feat for Ocean Nutrition, given that Becel is the dominant margarine brand in Canada and accounts for at least three quarters of market share in the category. "They have positioned their margarines around heart health,"​ Ian Lucas, Ocean Nutrition's executive vice-president of global sales and marketing, told NutraIngredients-USA. Branded Meg-3 contains both DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (or eicosapentaenoic acid). Studies have linked an adequate consumption of DHA to the promotion of brain, eye and heart health, while EPA has been linked to anti-inflammatory benefits. Ocean Nutrition's patented Powder-loc micro-encapsulation technology has allowed the company to add its omega-3 powders to an increasingly more diverse range of mainstream food products through manufacturing agreements. The company has scored agreements for use of its ingredient with the likes of Danone, Minute Maid and Tropicana. Unilever Canada is now placing the Meg-3 logo on the back panel of Becel Omega-3 Plus, to indicate the spread contains omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Becel Omega-3 Plus contains 50mg of DHA/EPA per two teaspoon serving. It is trans fat free, non-hydrogenated, and low in saturated fats. The spread has also been given the health check by Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation. The Health Check system is a trademarked program based on Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating​ - which employs a concept similar to the US government's MyPyramid. The symbol appears on over 1000 foods packages in Canada and indicates the product has been evaluated by a dietician for what it contribute to heart health. Ocean Nutrition plans to continue taking Meg-3 into a wide variety of products. Lucas hopes the omega-3 trend will grow to become a movement similar to that of organics - whereby consumers begin specifically looking for these types of symbols on their packaged goods. "People now have choices to eat a variety of omega-3 foods everyday,"​ said Lucas. "They can go into the grocery store and buy a whole range of omega-3 products."​ There is virtually no risk of over-dosing on the omega-3 found in such products, said Lucas, even if you were to eat numerous different kinds. He explained that most of these products contain 50mg of DHA/EPA, while most guidelines call for a minimum of 500mg of DHA/EPA per day.

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