Food technologists at the Riddet Institute have found a unique way of adding fish oil to new functional foods without making them taste or smell fishy.

Functional foods: a growing industry

Functional foods are foods designed to provide specific health benefits. They are a growing industry, fuelled by consumer demand and advances in science.

Fish oil provides omega-3

Fish oil provides a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart diseasearthritis and asthma, and also help brain development and function. You can get omega-3 from eating oily fish, like salmon or tuna. However, to meet the recommended daily allowance, you need to eat oily fish 3–4 times a week, and many people don’t do this. Find out more about benefits of fish oil.

Enriching foods with omega-3

Adding fish oil to foods we eat every day is an ideal way to increase our intake of omega-3, and many companies are researching how to do this. However, they’ve found that even adding small amounts of fish oil can make foods taste or smell fishy. Would you want to eat fishy-tasting bread or muffins? This article has additional information about adding fish oil to food.

Food technologists at the Riddet Institute in Palmerston North have solved this fishy problem. They’ve developed a way of microencapsulating fish oil so they can add large amounts to food without affecting the taste and smell.

Testing in different foods

Microencapsulated fish oil is a liquid emulsion that is added to food during the manufacturing process. The emulsion is marketed to food manufacturers.

Food technologists are developing prototype foods to show the food industry that the emulsion can be added to different products. They have even added it to ice cream. Consumer testing is common practice in food product development, find out how the Riddet Institute utilise consumer testing.

Published 17 July 2009