The shots feature the company’s proprietary emulsion technology that utilizes highly purified oil to conquer the fishy taste inherent in the ingredient. Sold under the brand name Omega Infusion, the 2oz., single serving, and zero-calorie health shots contain 150 mg of EPA and 100 mg of DHA in each serving and come in three flavors, peach mango, raspberry lemon and pink grapefruit. Oceans Omega CEO Benjamin Mamola expects distribution to expand rapidly.
“As far as we know this is the first shot of this type to be produced in the world,” Mamola told NutraIngredients-USA.
Mamola noted that a large number of consumers either shy away from fish oils because of the large pills that they’d need to choke down or the fishy aftertaste that many report. The new products were meant to address those issues, he said.
“What we’ve seen is that 40% of the people who should be taking omega 3s fall off either because they can’t or won’t take soft gels. In our case you don’t realize you are taking anything except a great tasting liquid,” Mamola said.
Hard to serve groups
The shot delivery system could be especially helpful in getting omega 3s to two hard-to-serve groups: children, who can be finiciky eaters, and seniors who might have swallowing difficulties.
“That’s one of the driving forces, one of the reason we got into this business, was our interest in getting our own families to consume higher levels of omega 3s, predominantly our own children,” Mamola said. “This is the type of product where don’t even realize it’s good for them. It’s just something that tastes really good. So I think it has great potential to support children’s diets.
“In addition elders, who can’t consume soft gels but who want to take increased omega 3s for any cognitive benefits associated with Alzheimers or memory or in some cases in the area of mood support. So this is a product that could help both groups,” he said.
Adam Ismail, execitive director of the Global Organizanation of EPA and DHA Omega 3s, said Oceans Omega’s product is an interesting forary into a new category for the ingredient and could help expand the customer base for omega 3s in general.
“The groups of consumers that are trying to get more omega-3s into their diets in the US are generally older. Younger consumers tend to be more fickle and less-forgiving about experiential issues like a fishy burp or larger pill size,” he said.
“A number of products have been launched to try to address some of these issues with varying levels of commercial success, but this also brings a new delivery form that may also appeal to this user group. There have been some other omega-3 beverages launched prior to this, but nearly all of them have been in larger formats or dairy formulations,” Ismail said.
Shots as supplements
The shot field has long been dominated by 5 Hour Energy, and so has come to be thought of as an energy delivery mode almost exclusively. It’s one of the biases that Oceans Omega is going to have to work to change, Mamola admitted. The company has some education work to do to convince consumers that shots are a viable daily supplementation delivery form, even if they might be somewhat more expensive.
“Shots do have an inherent impulse buy idea around them because of the energy shot market. I believe that’s going to be part of the education process. I think there is going to be somewhat of a learning curve. They’ll disassociate this product with energy and associate it with general health,” he said.
"I definitely think a shot format is appropriate if it brings new consumers into the market who have not had sufficient intakes of omega 3s in the past. I think these products will be very interesting to watch actually," Ismail said.
The company states that its ingredient and flavor formulations are proprietary (the ingredients used to solubilize Omega-3 EPA and DHA were not disclosed by the company), and it maintains all of the ingredients used in its products are covered under GRAS, including FDA-GRAS and Self-Affirmed GRAS, and are approved for food use.
More applications possible
Oceans Omega has already placed its emulsions in a line of waters. And more applications are available after the shots, Mamola said.
“We have a technology that eliminates the oxidative instability of the omega 3s in an aqueous solution. The technology was designed to be easily incorporated into traditional manufacturing facilities in all types of beverages including cold fill and hot fill. It’s a robust technology that has substantial scale and versatility. It can also be used in liquid phases of food applications. So anywhere where there’s water and a need for omega 3s it can be used,” Mamola said.