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21st September 2023  Content supplied by: FMCG Gurus

Plant-Based Omega 3 Sources: Targeting the Brain Health Market

Across the globe, consumers continue to focus health goals on prevention over cure, even as fear of the pandemic passes and spending on wellness products becomes more considered in a recessionary environment. Indeed, research conducted by FMCG Gurus in 2023 found that 63% of global consumers are looking to improve their wellness even if they are not suffering symptoms and are satisfied with their health. Of these consumers, 80% say that maintaining good cognitive and emotional wellness is just as important as maintaining good physical health long-term. This shows that younger consumers can accept tiredness, fatigue, and a lack of focus as being an inevitable consequence of modern life. Meanwhile, older consumers will be more conscious that a slowdown in focus and sharpness signifies a decline in health in general.

Irrespective of the demographic, maintaining and improving brain health is a priority for consumers over the next twelve months, with research in 2023 showing that 48% plan to do this. Concerns over cognitive health are likely to have intensified recently due to high levels of uncertainty over issues such as the state of the economy, personal finances, and job security, meaning that people feel stressed, something that impacts their ability to concentrate and focus. In the short term, a lack of cognitive focus can cause feelings of embarrassment and impact the ability to perform personal and professional tasks. However, in the long term, consumers will be conscious of the long-term impact on health. This focus on cognitive health will create interest in related claims within the supplements, food and drink market. For instance, 2023 research found that 29% of respondents found claims around the maintenance of normal brain function appealing.

When asked what defines good cognitive health, consumers were most likely to say having good memory levels (59%) and being able to concentrate for a significant period (48%). Despite this, problems such as a lack of mental focus and an inability to concentrate remain common, showing that future innovations are needed within the food, drink, and supplement market, to help increase satisfaction around cognitive health. When seeking out such products, consumers prefer a range of everyday foods and functional/fortified options irrespective of the type of product selected, it is crucial that products are convenient and can help facilitate busy lives, without compromising on taste.

From an ingredient perspective, Omega-3 is most likely to be deemed synonymous with brain health, with 92% of global consumers in 2022 saying they have heard of this ingredient, and of these, 64% associating it with aiding cognitive health.  Fish is the product sector that consumers are most likely to associate with the ingredient. However, outside of this sector, there is less awareness about alternative sources of the ingredient, especially within the plant-based market (such as algae-sourced omega 3). This is despite 48% of global consumers saying they follow a diet around the avoidance or moderation of animal products, and 45% say they take an interest in ingredients that can help boost their health – showing the need for products that are health-boosting and that are tailored to their specific dietary habits.

As consumers continue to take a proactive approach to health and recognize the importance of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet, there is an opportunity for the industry to further research the emerging science highlighting the importance of omega-3 in everyday life (including how benefits are now going beyond memory and attention, with emerging scientific data on sleep, mood, stress and anxiety), as well as the efficacy of algae-based Omega-3 sources compared to fish-based sources.

If you would like to attend these interactive roundtable discussions and find the latest insight and science on the topic, please register below:

Unlock Cognitive Wellness: Innovate with Plant-Based-Omega-3 – Connecting the Latest Consumer and Scientific Insights (NAM/EMEA/LATAM)

  • Date: 28 September 2023
  • Start time: 03:00 PM BST / 10:00 AM ET
  • Duration: 60 Minutes
Innovate with Plant-Based Omega-3 for Cognitive Wellness – Bridging the Latest Consumer & Scientific Insights (APAC)
  • Date: 27 September 2023
  • Start time: 08:00 AM BST / 03:00 PM SGT
  • Duration: 60 Minutes



Date Published: 21st September 2023

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