Aker invests in expensive promotion to boost overall omega-3 category

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Aker invests in expensive promotion to boost overall omega-3 category
Claiming to be a category leader can be expensive. Aker BioMarine CEO Matts Johansen said his company accepted that challenge when it produced a pricey video highlighting the importance of testing omega-3 levels in consumers.

The 8-minute video, by award winning Norwegian director Per-Olav Sørensen, features ultra-high production values, captivating music and stunning scenery. It tells the story of a young woman who works as a personal trainer in an unidentified big city in northern Europe who is shown doing all the right things:  strenuous workouts and eating healthy.  But after a return to Greenland for her father’s 60th birthday, (where the family is pictured eating fresh cod and salmon), she has her Omega-3 Index tested during a checkup and discovers that her levels are lower than all of the inhabitants of her home village.

Video meant to boost whole category

The video debuted some months ago and is now being pushed out to consumers via the company’s finished goods customers as well as directly.  Johansen said a social media campaign connected to the video has already generated more than 40,000 view of the video on the company’s webpage.

The story is heavy on the part that fish play in the lives of native Greenlanders, and has nothing to say about krill per se, which might seem to be a disconnect for the world’s largest supplier of krill oil omega-3 products.  But Johansen said the video is part of Aker’s commitment to grow the overall omega-3 category.

“The goal was to educate consumers on the importance of the Omega-3 Index measurement,​ Johansen told NutraIngredients-USA.

The high production values were necessary to create a piece that would capture the imagination of consumers, Johansen said.  Dry, talking-head discussions of the importance of adequate omega-3 intake in managing cardiovascular disease risk, quelling inflammation and so forth might be cheaper to produce but don’t always get that done. Making an emotional connection is the best way to motivate people to change, he said.

“It is kind of expensive to produce a video like this,​ Johansen said. “But it was our idea to try to capture people’s hearts.

Value of test still needs promotion

The Omega-3 Index test was developed by William Harris, PhD of the firm OmegaQuant, and the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota. With the test, the omega-3 category is in the happy position of having nutrients of proven benefit, recommended levels to shoot for, and a simple and inexpensive way to find out where a consumer is at in terms of their blood levels.  It’s almost like being a vitamin.  Yet even with all of that knowledge, levels among the population are still too low.  A recent study published in the journal Nutrients showed that almost no one is hitting optimum levels​. The research of Harris and others has pointed to an Omega-3 Index level of 8 and above as the optimum range for supporting health.  The Nutrients study found that few consumers achieve even half of that.

Johansen said that’s why, even after years of research, expensive promotion of the sort that Aker has just undertaken is still necessary.  And of course, in that discussion, Aker can make the point that phospholipid forms of omega-3s have their advantages.

“We have taken leadership of the omega-3 category.  We believe omega-3s are very important for the health of people of all ages,​ Johansen said.

“When people talk about protecting their health they want the best quality products.  And we believe the phospholipid form of krill oil is the most efficient way to increase your Omega-3 Index,​ he said.

Betting on category growth

Aker is betting heavily on the continued growth of the category.  After a number of years of slow to no growth, Johansen said he believes the category has returned to moderate, sustained growth, with the growth of demand for krill oil forms trending higher than that.  Based on those projections, Aker has invested in the construction of a new krill oil fishing vessel. When that vessel comes online in 2018 the company will have a fleet of four harvesting vessels and a supply ship, making it larger than all other krill harvesters combined.

“Even before the new vessel we were already at 70% of the world’s catch,​ Johansen said.

 To watch the video, click here​.

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