Norway debuts high-dose lycopene and omega-3 fizzy drink

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Docosahexaenoic acid, Omega-3 fatty acid

Norwegian omega-3 specialist, Pharmalogica is teaming up with Italian carotenoid specialist, Vitatene, to launch a high-dose omega-3/lycopene carbonated beverage.

The product, called Smartfish Vibrant, will take up position in Pharmalogica’s Smartfish line that includes high-dose, carbonated, TetraPak omega-3 based drinks. It will debut on the Norwegian market in February in a 200ml pack and retail for about €2.

The beverage will contain 16mg of Lyconat plus 735mg of omega-3s inlcuding 240mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), 210mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and 90mg of DPA (docosapentaenoic acid).

Smartfish Vibrant will come in a raspberry/orange flavour will have a shelf life of six months.

The suggestion of health

Pharmalogica co-founder Janne Sande Mathisen told the beverage would “suggest”​ skin health and cognitive benefits via the product name, packaging, imagery and colour selection.

In the original Smartfish line, 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.

But no explicit claims would be made as these had as yet not been approved at European Union level. Claims in both areas had been submitted under the EU nutrition and health claim regulation.

The companies have entered into an exclusivity agreement for the formulation that took several months for them to jointly develop.

This exclusivity covers the combination of Omega 3 and Lyconat (Vitatene’s branded version of natural lycopene) in an emulsion in a carbonated beverage,”​ Sande Mathisen said.

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 omega-3 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. There is no RDI for lycopene.

Pharmalogica, founded in 2003 to develop high-dose omega-3 foods, is in negotiation with beverage companies in the US and China and is looking at debuting the products on the German market.

High dose potential

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 has 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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