Royal DSM, a global, purpose-led company, announced that its plant-based omega-3 solution – life’s OMEGA – is approved for use in meat and fish alternatives by the European Commission across the European Union (EU).
DSM life’s OMEGA is a commercially available, single-source, algae-derived omega-3 suitable for vegans and is now available for use in fish and meat alternatives in the EU. This omega-3 solution helps producers take the next step in improving the nutritional profile of plant-based meat and fish alternatives, enabling the creation of next-generation applications like vegan salmon burgers or tuna salads. This latest regulatory approval helps European manufacturers offer consumers fortified plant-based alternatives that mimic traditional fish products with algal-sourced omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acids.
The plant-based meat industry has seen considerable growth in recent years, driven by innovations in taste and texture, with a growing flexitarian movement. Now, plant-based seafood is becoming the latest runaway consumer trend. However, challenges remain to win over the increasingly discerning consumer base, who are seeking out nutritious, great-tasting products that are also good for the planet. Fortification presents a tangible opportunity; figures show that 57% of consumers find the concept of fortified plant-based alternatives appealing and are looking for the same nutritional value found in traditional meat or fish.
Manufacturers can take their plant-based products to the next level by incorporating the same EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids as found in traditional fish. These omega-3 fatty acids are essential macronutrients that support heart, brain, eye, and immune health, as well as benefiting mood5 and sleep6 and reducing inflammation. Although many people get enough alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from land sources, such as flaxseed or canola oil, the conversion of ALA into EPA and DHA fatty acids by the human body is too low to meet recommended levels. This nutrient gap exists worldwide – a recent study shows that 83% of the global population lives in countries where the average intake of EPA and DHA is below the minimum WHO guidelines. EU approval of DSM’s algal omega-3 solution means European manufacturers can create nutritious plant-based products with a range of on-pack nutrient claims, such as being a source of omega-3 and supporting heart, brain, and eye health.
DSM’s life’s OMEGA uses fermented, natural, non-GMO algae so producers can fortify fish alternatives with the same EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids as found in fish – without impacting the marine ecosystem. All of this helps to create a nutritious, next-generation, stand-out offering.
“Plant-based meat and fish alternatives have seen significant improvements in recent years – but the category is continuously evolving to help bridge the nutrient gap,” comments Gilbert Verschelling, director - business development & innovation, Savory Ingredients, DSM. “The regulatory approval of life’s OMEGA in the EU is a game-changer for the European plant-based industry, with producers now able to fortify meat and fish alternatives with fish-free EPA and DHA to be on a par with traditional fish products. So, consumers don’t have to compromise on nutrition when incorporating plant-based alternatives into their diet – they can enjoy it with authentic products that tick all the boxes for taste, texture, and health.”
Manufacturers can formulate with life’s OMEGA in a wide range of applications, such as plant-based salmon burgers that contains the same omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids found in salmon. As well as maintaining EPA and DHA content, this algal omega-3 ingredient delivers a more neutral taste than fish oil.
life’s OMEGA is part of a wider portfolio for meat and fish alternatives, which includes DSM’s canola, pea, and faba plant proteins, together with its vitamin and mineral premixes, to help bridge the micro- and macronutrient gap often present in plant-based alternatives. This is complemented by DSM’s portfolio of award-winning taste and texturizing solutions to improve the sensory experience of plant-based alternatives.