Omega-3s: Consumer awareness is high and positive, but they need a reason to buy supplements

This content item was originally published on, a William Reed online publication.

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supplements Dietary supplements Nutrition

While consumer awareness of the benefits of omega-3s is high and positive, consumer usage of dietary supplements is low, according to new data from focus groups funded by GOED.

The data was presented at the recent GOED Exchange in Seattle by Jeff Hilton from Salt Lake City-based BrandHive​, who also took time to speak with NutraIngredients-USA about his findings.

“The fascinating thing for me – the big, big take-away – was that supplements didn’t come up unaided. When you ask people what they do to stay healthy, they didn’t mention supplements. But the minute you mention supplements, they all said, ‘Well, yeah, we take supplements’,” ​Hilton told us.

“And when you brought up omega-3s, awareness was high but the usage was fairly low. The awareness was positive. ‘Thumbs up, I’ve heard great things about omega-3s’. And when you ask them they said they eat fish, so I’m good, was the attitude,” ​he said.

The data was collected in London over several days of focus groups with people aged between 25 and 60. None of the participants were from the UK or the US, but they were resident in the UK. The participants were from a wide variety of countries, including South Africa, India, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Spain, in addition to some consumers from Latin America.

“I refer to it as the “Got Milk?” analogy,”​ said Hilton. “It’s not that people have anything against omega-3s, it’s just that you have to remind them, and give them a good reason to buy and use omega-3 supplements. I think we have to find those reasons.”

Opportunities for the omega-3 industry include science and clinical trials to further substantiate the claims, and for better communication via social media, particularly for the Millennial consumers, said Hilton.

“When we asked them about applications, they immediately talked about brain, skin, and heart. It’s not that they didn’t know, it’s that they weren’t using [dietary supplements],” ​he said. “So segmentation and really honing in on ‘aware non-users’ that is the sweet spot.”

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