Given the attention given to omega-3 in the consumer media, one might be excused for thinking those oblivious to the benefits of consuming the essential fatty acid have been living on another planet for the last few years.
But research commissioned by Flora and conducted by 72 point indicates that over 80 per cent of the 1041 women questioned (mothers with at least one child between three and 16 years) are concerned that no-one in their families is eating enough of the essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 has been the focus of numerous scientific studies in recent years, and strong evidence indicates it plays a part in cardiovascular health, cognitive function and joint health, amongst other potential benefits.
Fish is widely understood to be the best source of omega-3, since it contains DHA (docosahexaenioc acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), the forms that are most bioavailable to the body. The UK government recommends consumption of 450g of DHA/EPA per day.
There are also plant sources available, but these contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which must first be converted to DHA before it can be used, with some of the benefit lost in the process.
Despite the recommendations and coverage, 58 per cent of mothers said they have difficulty in persuading their children to eat oily fish. It is reported that fifty-eight percent of children eat oily fish less than one a month, and only 26 percent eat it once a week.
Moreover the adults are not setting a much better example: More than a third of women, and half of their partners, rarely eat oil fish, and only 26 per cent eat it once a week. "The research… clearly indicates that the nation urgently needs practical help and advice on how to boost their intake," said nutritionalist Fiona Hunter. The marketing opportunities for foods that may be an alternative source of omega-3 are glaring. Flora is taking the leap by signing ex-footballer's wife Louise Rednapp to publicise its Flora Omega 3 Boost Guide, a pack aimed at increasing awareness of omega-3 amongst all family members. Flora says that a 20g serving of its Flora Omega 3 Plus spread contains 135mg of fish source omega-3, and 600mg of plant source omega-3. A spokesperson for the brand told NutraIngredients.com that the original Flora product already contained plant source omega-3, from linseed and rapeseed oil.