Pharmalogica invests in high-dose omega-3 beverages

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Docosahexaenoic acid Omega-3 fatty acid

A line of high-dose, omega-3 juice drinks produced by Norwegian fish oil specialist Pharmalogica, has expanded its distribution from 200 to 1100 retail outlets in six months.

The company said the products, called Smartfish, came in variants aimed at children and adults, with the children’s versions being marketed with licensed Disney characters.

A carbonated mandarin and lychee-flavoured beverage called MyOmega, believed to be a world first, will be launched on the Norwegian market in three weeks, and deliver 300mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), 200mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and 100mg of DPA (docosapentaenoic acid).

Smartfish delivered similar omega-3 quantities and ratios. MyOmega would retail at about €2 for a 200ml serving compared to about €1.40 for a regular 330ml soft drink.

Pharmalogica uses fish oils from Norwegian supplier, Marine Harvest Ingredients, and sells Smartfish food supplements in chewable capsules and sachets in Hong Kong, China and Singapore as well as Norway.

While no official recommended daily intakes (RDI) exist, RDIs of about 450-500mg have been advised by at least two independent studies in the UK and the US.


Pharmalogica co-founder Janne Sande Mathisen told Smartfish beverages were only available on the Norwegian market but the company said it was in negotiations with beverage companies in the US and China and was looking at debuting the products on the German market.

The presence of omega-3 ingredients is referenced in the product’s on-package and online marketing but no mention is made of heart or brain health typically associated with omega-3 consumption.

The company said it was waiting for the results of two ongoing trials to come in before it went down the path of making such claims.

The company, founded in 2003 to develop high-dose omega-3 foods, submitted no claims dossiers under the European Union health and nutrition claims regulation, but said it may do in the future.

Emulsion technologies

Sande Mathisen said patented emulsion technologies enabled it to incorporate omega-3s at such high doses with minimal formulation issues.

The use of high antioxidant fruit juices such as apple, pear, pomegranate and aronia as well as whey protein isolates, rosemary extract and natural tochopherol assisted the process.

“In the carbonated product, the carbonation itself is an active ingredient because it helps keep the fish oils fresh by fighting oxidsation,”​ she said. “The challenge with high-dose products is keeping the fish oils fresh and this product does that.”

Non-carbonated Smartfish products, which like MyOmega come in a TetraPak, have a shelf life of three months.

Smartfish had developed a presence among Norway’s extreme sports community that included snowboarders and skateboarders. A professional snowboarder, Terje Haakonsen, had been drafted in to endorse the brand and taken part in a slick video promoting Smartfish that can be viewed here​.

Frost and Sullivan valued the European market at €187.8 million in 2007, and expected it to be worth €820m by 2014, equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6 per cent.

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