Back in February 2019, The NutraIngredients Omega-3 Summit provided a packed line-up providing high-level insights from the worlds of business, science, regulatory affairs and consumer trends.

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Below is an overview of the 2019 programme:

Day 1 – Wednesday 20 February 2019

Evening registration and networking reception 

 Day 2 – Thursday 21 February 2019

Morning session – speakers include:

Omega-3 market data under the microscope: GOED and NutraIngredients in conversation
GOED executive director Ellen Schutt and NutraIngredients’ Gary Scattergood take part in a state-of-the-industry discussion to drill down into some of the latest omega-3 industry data spanning crude oil, ingredients and finished products, both regionally and globally

One dose doesn’t fit all – things we learned from the Omega-3 Index
Prof Dr Clemens von Schacky, Preventive Cardiology University of Munich and Omegametrix

Omega-3 fatty acid intervention trials are plagued by inconsistent and misleading results, including three recent ones – ASCEND, VITAL and REDUCE-IT – that look at cardiovascular disease. Based on knowledge generated using the Omega-3 Index, which measures the percentage of omega-3 in red blood cells, Clemens demonstrates that these poor results were both predictable and avoidable.  He reveals how the Omega-3 Index works, its implications for intervention trials and how it can bring precision to the use of Omega-3 fatty acids to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.

Getting more omega-3 to where it’s needed – Driving the next wave of omega-3 category growth
Lay Kwan Goh, Global Head of Marketing, BASF Human Nutrition

Omega-3 supplement growth lags other Vitamin and Dietary Supplement categories, prompting industry experts and BASF to challenge current approaches to research, innovation and marketing.

BASF contends that health benefits and claims aren’t enough to stimulate omega-3 market penetration and why a new focus on breakthrough absorption technology and clinically proven claims offers a market-ready solution. Strong scientific evidence supports the benefits of dietary EPA and DHA for maintaining and optimizing heart and metabolic health. In particular, having a higher omega-3 index has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events. The omega-3 index reflects omega-3 status in the body and is defined as the total concentration of EPA and DHA in red blood cells, expressed as a percentage of total fatty acid content. Knowing your omega-3 index is, therefore, fundamental to helping you identify the right diet and products to achieve the optimal omega-3 status faster. However, despite being supported by robust scientific research, the omega-3 index in many parts of the world, including in Asia Pacific, remains much lower than optimal.

Lay Kwan will share how BASF is meeting these challenges through new opportunities to win with consumers through proven and differentiated benefits that can drive sustainable commercial category growth.

World first study:  Conclusive evidence that fish and omega-3 consumption helps alleviate depression
Yutaka Matsuoka, Division Chief of Healthcare Research, Centre for Public Health Sciences, National Cancer Centre Japan

It has long been thought that fish-sourced omega-3 can not only help to prevent depression, but also alleviate its symptoms. This has now been confirmed by a major research project undertaken in Japan.  This is the first time a study has used standard psychiatrist-diagnosed major depressive disorder as its foundation and targeted a population that traditionally eats a high fish diet. As a result, its findings are both conclusive and of global significance. Professor Matsuoka, who undertook the research, explains the study’s conclusions, their implications and recommended next steps.

Consumer understanding of omega-3 in South East Asia: Insights from the region’s leading pharmacy retailer
 Joy Chong, Principal Clinical Pharmacist, Watson’s Personal Care Stores

Community pharmacists are the healthcare professionals who are most accessible to the general public. Today, with an increasing trend towards health and wellness, pharmacists receive multiple queries from consumers on health supplements, particularly fish oil which is one of the most commonly used.


Extended networking

Grow your network with a series of short meetings with your fellow attendees. Introduce yourself to a new contact and find out if you’ve got mutual interests that would make a subsequent, more in-depth meeting worthwhile.

Roundtable lunches

Tables will be hosted by an expert from industry or academia who will lead an informal discussion on an industry hot topic. Join the table that suits you best, subject to availability.

Afternoon session – speakers include: 

Australia’s omega-3 success story and what it has to teach the rest of the world
Peter Barraket, Managing Director, Designs For Health Australia

Australia is among the world’s most developed consumer markets for health supplements and omega-3 is, without doubt, a leading product segment within it.  Peter, who has managed, bought and sold businesses in the health and supplements sector for close on two decades, looks back at what has fuelled Australian’s appetite for omega-3 and how the industry has built a multi-billion-dollar success story on a foundation of quality and innovation, within a regulatory framework that encourages consumer trust. As well as forecasting the innovations, market shifts and challenges expected to shape the Australian market over the next decade, he’ll consider what emerging markets in Asia can take from Australia’s experience.

Bringing babies closer to term. Tackling premature birth with omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation
Dr Femke Hannes, Regional Lead for Nutrition, Science and Advocacy, DSM Nutritional Products APAC

According to the World Health Organization, around 15 million babies are born prematurely every year, accounting for around one in ten of all births. Globally, premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under five, with close to a million deaths annually. Babies that do survive are at high risk of a range of long-term health problems, including visual impairment, developmental delay and learning difficulties. At last, there’s convincing evidence that omega-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy can help to lower the risk of having a preterm baby and helps reduce the risk of having a low birth weight baby. Looking at the latest research findings, Dr Hannes considers the implications for children’s and women’s health and the measures industry and healthcare professionals can take to encourage adoption.

Strong beginnings:  How long- chain omega-3 fatty acids can boost early start development
Mary Foong-Fong Chong, Assistant Professor, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Increasing evidence suggests that omega-3 intakes during pregnancy and early infancy can optimize childrens’ growth as well as their neurological and immune function in later life.  Getting the right amounts of omega-3 into the diets of Asian mothers has, however, proved challenging. Drawing on dietary data from across Asia, Mary’s presentation examines the scale of the problem and reveals practical ways this challenge can be overcome.

EPA/DHA Dietary Supplement Compliance:  Content Claims and Quality
Dr Gerard Bannenberg, Director of Compliance and Scientific Outreach, Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED)

The omega-3 sector hasn’t always received a positive press in the mainstream media, for example when it comes to the reporting of quality issues like oxidation of and claims on the content of omega-3 ingredients. Here we will take a close up look into several aspects of the testing and reporting of these technical topics. Examples will be provided to illustrate what methodological and regulatory aspects need to be considered when reporting on oxidation and label claims of EPA and DHA, the main omega-3 fatty acids of interest. Recent assessments show that the quality of products available to consumers on the market is respectable, although there is still room for improvement.

Evening drinks reception

Day 3 – Friday 22 February 2019

Morning session – speakers include:

The heart of the matter.  Are omega-3 fatty acids beneficial in the prevention of cardiovascular disease?
Professor Trevor Mori, Research Fellow, University of Western Australia

There’s sound clinical and epidemiological evidence that omega-3s sourced from fish have cardio-protective qualities. In this presentation, Professor Mori unveils findings from a new clinical trial that shows how the incidence of cardiovascular death and coronary related illnesses among high risk patients can be reduced by 25% with daily regular doses of omega-3s. Based on these results, he’ll make the case that omega-3 fatty acids should be widely adopted as an additional therapy for patients with heart failure and hypertriglyceridaemia.

Alternative approaches to educating consumers
Ellen Schutt, Executive Director, GOED

In today’s world of information overload, it’s difficult to break through the clutter to get through to the ultimate consumer. Additionally, making sure you are presenting health messaging in a credible and authentic way brings challenges as well. GOED has recently undertaken several educational initiatives aimed at reaching the consumer as well as done consumer market research around the world to better understand the health and wellness consumer. Ellen will share insights into consumer behaviours as well as provide tips for getting information about omega-3 benefits to consumers.

Good news for fish:  The metabolic engineering programme that’s created a plant-based source of long chain omega-3
Dr Surinder Singh, Chief Research Scientist and Group Leader, Plant Oil Engineering, CSIRO Agriculture & Food

 Consumer demand for long chain omega-3 oils is growing faster than can be sustainably supplied from wild fish stocks. The race is on to find potential new sources, and the creation of land based plants that can yield omega-3 in the necessary quantities has been a long standing goal of bio-engineers.  CSIRO’s Plant Oil Engineering Team and their commercial partner, Nuseed have finally achieved it.  Using gene technology, they’ve created canola oil that yields the long chain omega-3 previously only available from fish.  CSIRO’s canola oil has already achieved regulatory approval in Australia and USA and is now undergoing regulatory assessment in Canada.  It’s good news for worldwide fish stocks, and for human nutrition.  Describing CSIRO’s voyage of discovery, Surinder will reveal the science that’s led to success in one of the most complex plant-based metabolic engineering project ever undertaken.

Single cell omega-3 solutions – has algae come of age?
Lalen Dogan, Chair, Omega-3 Centre Australia

Every year, around 16 million tons of wild fish is harvested to produce around five million tons of fishmeal and one million tons of fish oil. It’s resource hungry business, and with growing pressure on wild fish stocks, there’s a clear need for an alternative, sustainable source of LC-PUFA omega -3s.  Lalen takes a look at the latest research into single cell oils (SCOs) and their potential to meet the world’s appetite for a secure, natural source of omega-3.

Omega 3 with muscle (or mussel).  How a young entrepreneurial business is challenging the marketplace
Ron Park, Founder, Kōrure, University of Canterbury Entrepreneurship

Fish have long reigned supreme as the primary source of omega 3.  But populations are under stress and the search for a natural, sustainable alternative is driving innovation.  Founded in 2017, New Zealand company, Kōrure is combining a new Omega 3 source – green lipped mussel – with the country’s global reputation for clean environmentalism to provide its home market, Asia and the world with a viable alternative.  Find out how New Zealand green lipped mussel is muscling out fish – in the nicest way possible, of course.

PANEL: Traceability showcase

Closing remarks 

Networking lunch