These sales grew 10 percent between 2008 and 2009, Euromonitor said, with raw volumes up from 12,054 tonnes in 2008 to 13,218 tonnes in 2009.
Global volumes grew 50-fold between 2004 and 2009.
In the US, volumes grew 22 percent behind the Asia Pacific which grew 30 percent but with a volume of only 850 tonnes. About half of global omega-3s used in food products are consumed in Europe, with the dietary supplements market bigger in the US.
Euromonitor noted that technological advances have assisted the omega-3 foods market as the fatty acids that are prone to oxidization have become easier o formulate into food matrices. Previously food makers had opted for other fats that were more formulation-friendly.
“This trend was also mirrored in livestock farming. In order to maximise efficiency gains in meat and dairy production, animal feeding protocols have changed over the years, leading to a reduction of omega-3 in the human food supply,” Euromonitor said.
“For example, the move away from pasture feeding cattle (grass is high in omega-3) and towards grain-based feed (low in omega-3) resulted in a decline of omega-3 content in the animals' milk and meat. Furthermore, the increasing affordability of meat has negatively impacted the consumption of sea fish, which is recognised as one of the most important dietary sources of omega-3.”
Euromonitor predicted global growth of 24 percent between 2009 and 2014 with volumes peaking at 16,332. Emerging markets will see the greatest growth with Saudi Arabia set to grow 182 percent; India (170%), Mexico (126%) and China (98%).
The US will grow 43 percent, the UK 32 percent and New Zealand 27 percent, Euromonitor said.