Ocean Nutrition Canada: The Science in Marine-Based Ingredients
In 1997, Clearwater Fine Foods—Canada’s largest seafood producer—recognized that the ocean was an untapped resource for nutrients that could be used to improve human health. So the company decided to create a subsidiary called Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited, Nova Scotia, Canada, to research nutritional bioactives from the marine environment.
Ocean Nutrition’s core success lies in supplying omega 3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ingredients made from fish oil to dietary supplement and functional food markets around the world. Fish oil is the best-known, most efficient source for EPA and DHA, which are essential for heart health and normal growth and development.
MEG-3, the brand name for the company’s full line of omega 3 fish oil ingredients, is being used to build awareness, so that consumers know and trust that they are incorporating the best source of omega 3’s into their diet. Ocean Nutrition also recently launched a new microencapsulated powder technology, which it considers a catalyst for its rapid growth. “Our growth is accelerating because of our patented microencapsulation technology, which prevents fish oil from oxidizing so it can be put into food products,” said Ian Lucas, executive vice president of global marketing for Ocean Nutrition. “The product has been successfully commercialized this year with several bread and dairy product launches. This innovation is creating an entirely new category in healthy food ingredients.”
Experts, including the American Heart Association, agree that people should consume between 500 and 1000 mg per day of EPA and DHA, however, current North American consumption is less than 130 mg per day, according to Dr. Colin Barrow, vice president of research and development. “The ability to put fish oil in foods people love is a breakthrough technology since it means consumers are now able to increase their consumption of these essential nutrients.”
Examples of products that feature MEG-3 include Farmers Choice Partly Skimmed Milk Beverages and Cali-Wraps tortillas—both of which enable consumers to obtain nutrients from fish oil without the taste or smell of fish. Cali-Wraps are also the first Canadian food product to feature the branded ingredient, MEG-3, prominently on the packaging so consumers can easily see that these products contain more value than other omega 3 products.
“Another example of innovation is our introduction of a soft chew, which contains 100 mg of EPA and DHA from fish oil,” said Mr. Lucas. “This product is the first soft chew made from fish oil. We are marketing these chews under the MEG-3 brand and selling them in bulk to business partners that want to innovate and create a new and convenient delivery form for fish oil.”
With the market in such great shape, the company aspires to become the leading global supplier of omega 3 fish oil ingredients for the food and supplement industries. And they can do so
in an environmentally sustainable manner since many of the marine organisms that the company utilizes are waste products, such as shrimp shells, allowing them to remove dietary benefits from sources without destroying the ocean’s ecological balance.
With less than 10% of water’s nutrients being brought to the surface, Ocean Nutrition will continue its science-based research to discover new high-value products and unique formulations. “We look forward to a stream of new nutraceutical ingredients from the marine environment,” said Mr. Lucas. “In fact, we have a vigorous pipeline of new nutraceutical ingredients in the areas of cardiovascular health, diabetes and immune health.” —M.Z.
Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited
101 Research Drive
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia,
Canada B2Y 4T6