Almost a third of consumers said they felt deficient for omega-3 fatty acids, which is up 34 percent since 2010. While probiotics and proteins grew faster over the same period, omega-3 fatty acids were consistently at the forefront as nutrient consumers.

Further research by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) found that two out of five consumers would like to include more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. As health and wellness mainstreaming continues, omega-3s have a significant opportunity to reach consumers who may be new to the field with different health goals and needs.

Although consumers feel deficient and want to get more into their diet, two-fifths of the population are unaware of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, less than a third of the population is aware of the effects of omega-3s on heart health – the benefits traditionally associated with the nutrient!

Millennials are a high performing consumer group who grew up in an environment surrounded by health news and are a driving force behind much of the mainstreaming of the health and wellness market. While the heart health benefits of omega-3s have traditionally attracted older generations (boomers and mature), there is an opportunity to target these younger consumers with different health goals.

While the omega-3 fatty acid opportunity is centered on continued growth, there are a few challenges to be considered. Despite the many benefits and perceived needs, many consumers are either ignorant or incomplete about omega-3 fatty acids. Conversely, marketers must walk a fine line in promoting the wide range of omega-3 benefits.

New format offerings, education and identification of the health needs and goals of consumers – especially those new to health and wellness – will be key to success in this market.

You can find more trends in the omega-3 market in INSIDER’s Omega-3s Digital Magazine.

Maryellen Molyneaux is President and Managing Partner of the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a strategic consulting, market research and business development company specializing in the health, wellness and sustainability market.

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