Omega-3 opportunities: Plant-based ingredients and targeted products will attract new customers, said Wiley Companies at SupplySide West 2021

Wiley's Finest CEO Greg Lindsey discussed future growth markets for omega-3 ingredients, including a currently underexplored category: mood support.

Omega-3s remain a major category in the dietary supplements market. As omega-3 companies recruit brand new customers, features like plant-based ingredients and condition-specific product formulas will increasingly help them reach a broader base, said Greg Lindsey, new CEO of Wiley's Finest (Coshocton, OH), during October’s SupplySide West trade show.

Plant-Based Brings In New Customers

Sales have grown slowly but steadily in the marine-based omega-3 market, Lindsey said, but “on the plant-based side is where we’ve really seen the market trajectory increase.” Plant-centric consumers who previously thought omega-3s weren’t for them can now buy plant-based omega-3 products.

Ensuring there’s something for everyone is key to growing the category. “The benefits of omega-3s are important to everyone, from children up,” Lindsey said. “It just seems logical to have plant-based products that fit that need as well.”

Wiley Companies already began extending into the plant-based market last year when it launched its CatchFree Omega line in 2020. The line includes full-spectrum Ahiflower seed oil, which contains ALA omega-3, SDA omega-3, and GLA omega-6 fatty acids, plus Algarithm algal DHA. The company has also diversified beyond omega-3s, introducing its Bold Heart plant sterols line for cardiovascular support last year.

“Our CatchFree and Bold Heart are both catching on very well,” Lindsey reported. Regarding plant-based omega ingredients like Ahiflower, “you need to have growth in that area because the different type of consumer is not as interested in omega-3s from marine-based, for their own reasons,” he continued. “A lot of that is sustainability. And we also have customers with different diets among different people in different age groups and age brackets.”

He added that in Wiley’s eyes, “it’s a new type of consumer for us, and a new type of consumer for the industry. Our commitment is to get an omega-3 across every age bracket, so it just makes sense for us to continue to develop new, plant-based products for the market.”

Getting More Specific

Another opportunity for omega-3 growth involves formulating and marketing targeted products that better pinpoint how omega-3s support specific health conditions. Lindsey said that across the board there is a need for more “different omega-3 products that can be very specific to specific health benefits.”

He continued: “I think we, as omega-3 producers, need to continue to be creative from a formulation standpoint. I think over the next five years, you’re going to see a brand-new mix of products that are little bit more targeted and specific. I think the omega-3 market in general has had an awful lot of claims for a lot of different areas. I think that’s become challenging to the consumer. It gets confusing. It’s a lot of noise. So, I think that we as omega-3 producers and suppliers need to do a better job with our formulations of targeting certain areas that make it a little bit easier for the consumer to understand the benefits that different products provide.”

Combinations of omega-3s and other ingredients, like lutein, vitamin D, and vitamin K2, are also priorities for Wiley now, he added.

Exploring Mood

Mood support is one underexplored omega-3 area that Wiley is ramping up. In terms of the health benefits consumers most commonly associate with omega-3s, said Lindsey, “obviously we know brain. We know heart. We know joint. We know bone. We know muscle. A lot of people really don’t know [about omega-3s’ benefits for] mood support.”

More studies are being done in this area, “and it’s certainly something that [Wiley] is exploring more from a formulation standpoint, to find the right mix that can help in that area,” he added. Stay tuned, he said.

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