China to over take Western Europe in EPA & DHA oil consumption

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states Omega-3 fatty acid

Anchovies are the dominant source of omega-3 accounting for nearly 80 per cent of total supply.
Anchovies are the dominant source of omega-3 accounting for nearly 80 per cent of total supply.
China is poised to over take Western Europe in the consumption of EPA- and DHA-rich oils, according to research conducted by market analysts Frost & Sullivan and the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED).

The country’s consumption, currently totalling 10,095t, is soon set to overtake Western Europe which accounts for 12,284t.

China already leads Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand which consume 5,853t and 4,951t respectively.

The Chinese market also outpaces Western Europe now when measuring by tonnes of EPA- and DHA-rich oil consumed relative to Gross Domestic Product. China consumes 1000t relative to its GDP compared with to 810t in Western Europe.

Adopting this measure, world leader is Australia and New Zealand which consume 4,940t of EPA- and DHA- rich oils relative to GDP. They are followed by Scandinavia (3,430t), Canada (2,680t) and the United States (2080t).

Omega-3 suppliers

GOED membership includes 70 firms who omega-3 suppliers, three of which are from China. One member from China is an encapsulator of omega-3 oils. The trade group knows of at least 21 omega-3 suppliers in China.

The Unites States is also the globe’s leading absolute consumer accounting for 30,429t of EPA- and DHA-rich oils.

Global EPA/DHA dietary supplement sales for 2009 were estimated at $2,898m compared with $1,856m in 2007.

In the US market, omega-3 dietary supplement sales are estimated at $1002m in 2009 up from $40m 16 years ago.

Global consumption of EPA- and DHA-rich oils exceeded an estimated 100,000t last year; up from just over 20,000t 10 years ago.

The biggest category for omega-3 oil consumption remains dietary supplements which account for 51,148t, according to the GOED/Frost and Sullivan report. But other categories are growing in importance.

Animal feed accounts for 20,400t, followed by food and beverage (9561t), infant nutrition (3103t), pharmaceuticals (1391t) and clinical nutrition (70t).

Dominant source

Meanwhile, the report confirms that anchovy fisheries are still the dominant source of omega-3 supplying 79.1 per cent of total consumption.

The next most important sources are cod (6.8 per cent), tuna (5.6 per cent), salmon (3.8 per cent), and algae (3.4 per cent).

Omega-3 oils supplied from krill account for only 1.1 per cent of total consumption.

Sustainability claims for EPA/DHA products are becoming as important as claims about product characteristics, according to the research. GOED/Frost and Sullivan research tracking claims made for new products launched worldwide noted 11.6 per cent which featured sustainability.

Quality claims were made for 28.9 per cent of new launches followed by safety (19.7 per cent) and sensory claims (16.1 per cent).

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