As market leader in sales of canned fish in Australia (through the John West brand), the prime objective for Simplot is to ensure a continued growth by keeping key existing categories relevant and attractive to customers and consumers. Health is one of the key drivers of consumer demand for canned fish and this research will assist in providing relevant health messages to inform consumers of the importance of including canned fish in their diet. This will be achieved by demonstrating that regular consumption of John West canned fish can lead to long-term increases of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3) into erythrocytes which are consistent with an improved health status.
Consumer awareness of omega-3 is increasing, which is reflected in increasing sales figures of omega-3 supplements in Australia between 2004 and 2006, whereas sales for most fish species were declining during the same time period. A reason for the success of the supplement market might be that almost all studies highlighting the health benefits of omega-3 are related to fish oil supplements, but very little research has been done in the area of processed seafood. The follow-up study is a unique approach to determine the bioavailability of omega-3 in canned fish; it will promote processed fish as an alternative to fish oil supplements. Furthermore to build and increase the consumer awareness of fish and processed fish as a good source of omega-3 is a chance to boost the sales not only in this category, but also offers flow-on benefits for the rest of the seafood industry.
Consumer awareness of omega-3 health benefits is increasing continually, which is reflected in increasing sale figures of omega-3 supplements in Australia between 2004 and 2006. The success of omega-3 supplements might have resulted from the intense clinical research with fish oil supplements. In contrast, very little research has been conducted in the area of processed seafood. Therefore, the fishery and fish processing industry should take the opportunity to support and initiate research which is aiming to highlight the advantages of seafood over supplements.
The aim of this project was to demonstrate that regular consumption of John West canned fish can lead to increased omega-3 levels in red blood cells and how the increase is associated with a range of cardio metabolic health benefits.