Omega-3 emulsion could boost stability of functional drinks

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid

Dairy and beverage manufacturers can incorporate long-chain omega-3 fatty acids into their products without compromising taste and stability with a new high concentration omega-3 emulsion, claims supplier Lipid Nutrition.

John Kurstjens, global group marketing manager for the Netherlands-based company, told that the minimum content EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic) in its new Marinol omega-3 emulsion is 153 mg per gram (19 per cent) while total omega-3 minimum content is 187 mg per gram (22 per cent).

He said that these high concentrations make the product cost effective in that it enables manufacturers to use less of the product while still guaranteeing the optimum amounts of EPA and/or DHA in their beverage and dairy products.

Long chain omega-e fatty acids have been repeatedly linked to a number of health benefits, including brain development and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.


Miriam van Wanroij, application manager at Lipid Nutrition, said that, while the method was proprietary, the new emulsion ensures stability and taste of the final products in that it prevents lipid oxidation, the cause of off taste and flavour in dairy and beverage applications: "The emulsifiers and proteins on the surface of the oil droplet protect the fish oil against oxidation.”

She explained that as omega-3 oils are difficult to mix with water, most manufactures, to be able to add the fish oil to products such as beverages and milk, have to prepare an emulsion by using an emulsifier or thickener.

“Although an emulsion is, in most cases, not difficult to make, it is quite laborious. Not only do you avoid the risk of oxidation with our ready-to-use emulsion, it is also very easy to apply to liquid products,”​ she continued.

Shelf life

And Kurstjens claims that a lot of development work was undertaken with the emulsion at Lipid Nutrition’s testing facilities, with results demonstrating that when mixed with a dairy product such as milk the emulsion is stable over a shelf life of at least four months.

He said that the supplier can help beverage and dairy manufacturers to experiment to find the right formulation process to incorporate its omega-3 emulsion into their products. He added that the emulsion also has applications for food, particularly bakery products.

Functional growth

Frost and Sullivan’s European analysis revealed an omega-3 ingredients market growing at 24.3 per cent annually and projected all the way out to 2014, when it would be worth $1.6bn. This figure includes marine, algae and flaxseed sourced omega-3s.

In foods, most predictions are similarly ebullient. In a 2007 report, Packaged Facts estimated the US market was worth $2bn for foods and beverages bearing EPA, DHA and ALA either in combination or alone. Packaged Facts predicted the market would be worth $7bn by 2011.

Fish oil source

With depletion of fish stocks an ongoing concern, Kurstjens stressed that the company sources its omega-3 fatty acids from multiple marine fish species caught off the coast of South America, including anchovy (95-99 per cent), sardine (1-5 per cent), jack mackerel, mackerel, and other occasional species.

“The fish oil is a by-product of the fish meal industry and we are therefore making use of a product that is considered waste to another industry,”​ he continued.

The company said that the emulsion is being launched next week at the Food Ingredients Europe trade show in Frankfurt.

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