Devenish and Mara launch Humanativ to boost intake of omega-3 in global population

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/grinvalds
© GettyImages/grinvalds

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid Algae eggs Devenish

Northern Ireland animal nutrition company, Devenish, and Canadian company, Mara Renewables Corporation, are launching Humanativ, a new joint venture aimed at boosting the intake of omega-3 in the diet of the global population.

The JV, which will market OmegaPro, Devenish’s algae derived animal feed supplement to enrich meat and eggs and, in turn, enrich the diets of consumers with omega-3, builds on a long-standing partnership between the two companies.

When asked why Devenish is collaborating with the Canadian company, a spokesperson told us: 

"This partnership is a natural fit with both Mara and Devenish driven by invention, research and development and are both equally passionate about making a positive impact on human health and the environment.

"Mara has patented technologies to produce the product, and Devenish has extensive experience in animal nutrition and enrichment; strengthened by human health studies which will enable Humanativ and its customers to make on-pack health claims."

Targeted buyers are producers of animal proteins that wish to add value and differentiate their brands in the marketplace with scientifically proven health benefits for consumers. 

"Only 20% of the world’s population has a diet that is sufficient in Omega3-DHA. Our long-term aim is to increase that year-on-year by enriching commonly eaten meats with Omega-3 DHA on a global basis,"​ said the spokesperson.

Trial to determine health benefits of omega-3 enriched eggs and chicken meat  

A clinical trial carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI), on behalf of Devenish, indicated the health benefits of regular consumption of chicken-meat and eggs naturally enriched with algae-sourced omega-3-PUFAs. 

The research, which was published in Scientific Reports​, says omega-3 levels in participants were boosted by eating naturally enriched chicken and eggs, and that blood pressure was also lowered.

The study saw 161 adults randomly allocated to eat at least three portions per week of chicken and eggs, either standard or naturally enriched with Devenish’s omega-3 product. The results indicated that the individuals that consumed the enriched meat and eggs saw a fall in blood pressure. 

Devenish says it has significant multi-species expertise in enriching animal diets, when asked whether the alliance will look to enrich other animal protein products from beef to pork and milk with OmegaPro. "Through Humanativ, we will continue our focus on innovation and research to further develop and enhance our product offering in the future."

Feed inclusion 

The inclusion levels of OmegaPro are dependent on the age, weight, and production system of the animal, said the company.

"However due to the high levels of DHA in the algal oil, the inclusion rate in the diet is much lower than with other sources of Omega-3. This provides a number of commercial advantages in the enrichment process,"​ added the spokesperson.

The source of the oil is a GMO-free microalgae produced in an environmentally sustainable patent protected process, he confirmed. 

Enriched food sources as an alternative to supplements 

Dr Heather Hayes, poultry products manager, Devenish, told us previously: “We see the more omega-3 enriched food sources you have, on a little and often basis, the higher the bioavailability than just taking a single dose of [omega-3 fatty acids] through a supplement.”

While omega-3s from salmon are in a form that is highly bioavailable, she noted back then that many people do not tend to eat that much salmon and other oily fish: “But we are not trying to compete with salmon; instead, we want to provide complementary alternatives for people who don’t like fish, and that applies particularly to children.”

Traditionally, fish oils have been used to supply EPA and DHA in the diet, but Hayes said: “I think that is possibly changing as well. I think the big problem with fish oils is that they tend to be highly variable and, unfortunately, many fish oils tend to be highly oxidized. Whereas algae, from our point of view and in terms of using it as a raw material, we know it is highly consistent, we know it is sustainably produced, and we know it is protected from oxidation.”

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