Scandinavians target elderly with 1000mg+ omega-3 drink

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Omega-3 fatty acid, Docosahexaenoic acid

Norwegian omega-3 specialist Smartfish is set to launch an omega-3 drink with more than 1000mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), as the company adds a medical wing to its Smartfish brand.

The drink – Smartfish Medical – contains 1100mg of DHA and EPA, 10mcg of vitamin D3, 8g of proteins and 200 calories and will be sold in pharmacies, hospitals and rest homes as a medical food targeting the malnourished elderly.

This category of foods can mean purchasers are reimbursed more than half of the purchase price under state health schemes.

Smartfish Medical has been licensed to Navamedic-owned pharmaceutical company, Vitaflo Scandinavia, which will market and distribute the product in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Smartfish will look after these duties in its domestic market.

Smartfish co-founder Janne Sande Mathisen said Smartfish Medical would target the elderly and those suffering cancer and cardiovascular problems. It enters a space occupied by the likes of Danone-owned Nutricia and Nestlé.

“This is a little different because of the high omega-3 content and the fact the product is juice based rather than milk based,” ​Sande Mathisen told NutraIngredients.

Navamedic CEO Olof Milveden said the deal formed part of its strategy to boost its presence in medical nutrition.

"The market for nutraceutical drinks is growing rapidly all over the world,”​ Milveden said. “The agreement with Smartfish is therefore a valuable addition to Vitaflo Scandinavia's current selection of medical nutritious products, currently sold across the Nordic countries."

High-dose omega-3 foods

Smartfish products are some of the highest-dose omega-3 foods in the world but to date have sold only at niche levels in Norway. Versions such as Smartfish MyOmega, Junior and Recharge come in 200ml TetraPak cartons, sell for about €2, and boast more than 500mg of EPA/DHA per serving.

In 2008 Pharmalogica, as Smartfish was called then, teamed up with Italian carotenoid specialist, Vitatene, to launch a carbonated drink called Smartfish Vibrant on the Norwegian market that contained 16mg of lycopene plus 735mg of omega-3s including 240mg of DHA, 210mg of EPA, and 90mg of DPA (docosapentaenoic acid).

Smartfish uses fish oils from Norwegian supplier, Marine Harvest Ingredients, and sells Smartfish food supplements in chewable capsules and sachets in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain and the UK – but not Norway.

“It’s too crowded,” ​Sande Mathisen said.

Smartfish employs patented emulsion technologies to incorporate omega-3s at high doses and employs high antioxidant fruit juices such as apple, pear, pomegranate and aronia as well as whey protein isolates, rosemary extract and natural tocopherols.

Smartfish products are currently subject to several clinical trials and a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition​ in April found the products are highly bioavailable.

NutraIngredients coverage of that trial can be found here.

Resource SeniorActiv

Nestlé last year has launched a 200mL nutrient drink called Resource SeniorActiv in Switzerland targeting the malnourished elderly and fortified with vitamin D, calcium and protein.

It said it would roll the product out in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands in 2010.

Asian and North American debuts were also planned along with other European countries in an “ongoing roll-out”.

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