Best of 2011 Ingredient Supplier: DSM Nutritional Products

December 14, 2011

Leveraging its Martek Biosciences acquisition, DSM’s new Nutritional Lipids division is offering a comprehensive PUFA portfolio.

DSM Nutritional Products completed its acquisition of Martek Biosciences in February, and the union is propelling the company further as a leader in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Touting its robust PUFA portfolio, in September DSM formed its Nutritional Lipids division, which includes not only DSM’s PUFA ingredients but also leverages Martek’s algal DHA and EPA omega-3 and ARA omega-6 ingredients.

Peter Nitze, formerly COO of Martek Biosciences, is president of the new Nutritional Lipids division. “Moving forward, our primary focus will be on healthy nutritional lipids. We will be expanding our focus on these types of products to offer new advantages to consumers,” he says. A few of those ambitious endeavors include extending DSM’s reach into the food and beverage markets and marketing Martek innovations by promoting the ingredients globally.

One Martek innovation that will surely fuel DSM growth is the launch of the first algae-derived omega-3 source that is not only high in DHA but also EPA omega-3. This announcement came earlier this year, stemming from the company’s discovery of a strain of algae that is a naturally high producer of both DHA and EPA omega-3. (Martek was already well known for its branded algal DHA omega-3 ingredient life’sDHA, which can already be found in more than 500 food and beverage products, including infant formula.) Thanks to this discovery, Martek’s-and now DSM’s-algae-derived omega-3 portfolio is well rounded, offering both EPA and DHA.

In addition to being available as ingredients to manufacturers, the algal EPA and DHA ingredients were featured in a new product launched this year as part of Martek’s Amerifit retail supplement brand. (Following the acquisition, DSM has since changed the name of the Amerifit brand to i-Health.)

The product, Ovega-3, is touted as “a vegetarian omega-3 supplement containing high levels of both DHA and EPA omega-3s, for heart health.” The company says this supplement provides the first complete non-fish source of omega-3 available for vegans and vegetarians.

“Our strategy is often to lead with branded supplements,” Nitze says. “Marketing the supplement, in addition to offering our algae-derived ingredients, is tremendous help in terms of creating a broader awareness.”

DSM says it will continue creating new product categories for its branded supplements as a way of increasing awareness, including under the i-Health brand. “We will market more supplements that will target very specific health benefits, such as eye health or gut health,” Nitze adds. The brand (at the time still called Amerifit) also launched a supplement called BrainStrong this year, containing life’sDHA and promoting improved memory.

Another major focus for DSM and its Nutritional Lipids division will be to develop more combination products, according to Nitze. “We’ll pair ingredients that work synergistically, such as a supplement that might include omega-3 and probiotics. Combined products will be a major focus.”

Despite the public’s increased awareness of PUFAs, Nitze says it can still be a challenge to differentiate new products in a crowded market. “We have seen a steady growth in consumer awareness, however, so it is proof that we’re on the right track,” he says.

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