Research supports that the omega-3 sector is prime for an alternative delivery system

Published: 1-Sep-2022

Market research experts have conducted preference/acceptance and compliance studies on Smart Chews made with ConCordix technology

Fishy smell. Fish burps. Hard-to-swallow soft gels. Unpleasant texture. Consumers don’t often think of taking an omega-3 supplement as enjoyable.

“Once adults find an omega-3 supplement they can tolerate, they tend to stick with it. The unpleasant side effects, tastes or difficulty swallowing due to their large size are often their only triggers to look for something better,” confirms qualitative research guru Sue Wood.

How can you take full advantage of this information to earn more loyal customers? Wood has completed two studies demonstrating that Vitux AS’s sugar-free ConCordix technology – a unique jelly-like matrix that dissolves easily – can be a solution that drives consumer usage, compliance and loyalty in omega-3 supplements. The technology is available as Smart Chews.

Putting the fun factor into taking an omega-3

Gummies can be high in sugar and don’t have near the payload capacity of soft gels. And soft gels can be difficult to swallow for some consumers and may still have unpleasant issues.

Smart Chews are designed to resolve these barriers to omega-3 compliance as well as the payload concerns.

“Brand managers ... formulators ... everyone tends to be surprised when they first experience this new delivery technology. You can read about it and research it, but until you try a sample for yourself, you won’t understand why Smart Chews are so readily accepted,” comments Vitux AS Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing Marc Van Maris.

We get emails all the time from people who are astonished that there is 600 mg of omega-3s in one Smart Chew

“ConCordix solves delivery system issues without compromising payload. We get emails all the time from people who are astonished that there is 600 mg of omega-3s in one Smart Chew,” says Van Maris. ConCordix technology is designed to mirror the way we eat food, which includes chewing, swallowing and digesting. It delivers tiny oily droplets of nutrition stabilised in an emulsion, similar to how omega-3s are stored in fish. These tiny droplets increase contact surface in the digestive system, increasing absorption and bioavailability.

Adult acceptance test

A Smart Chews acceptance test was recently conducted among American adults. Study enrollees included 41 men and women ages 30 to 70, representing a range of ethnicities, household incomes and education levels from across the US They all took some form of omega-3 daily.

Participants logged in daily to an online discussion board to capture daily behaviours/results pertaining to the compliance test. To maintain privacy and eliminate groupthink, the discussions were programmed to appear as private, so respondents could not see each other’s names or answers.

“Initially, there was a lot of apprehension among study participants,” recalls Wood. “They didn’t want to chew on fish oil, assuming the taste would be unpleasant. They said they could even detect fishiness in their soft gel, and it was swallowed not chewed! But every single participant told us that with Smart Chews, there is truly no fish smell, taste or burps. There was a lot of excitement that this was actually possible!”

Smart Chews also provide an option for seniors who may want to use your brand, but who are not willing to take a large soft gel

After four weeks, there was 100% compliance, with 95% of Smart Chew consumption experiences reported as highly positive. More than 80% liked the taste. Smart Chews also scored high on intent to buy and intent to recommend.

“Most participants described their experience of taking Smart Chews over a four-week period as easy and surprisingly pleasant, one they often looked forward to each day,” says Wood. “Of the ConCordix technology benefits, aside from taste and ease of taking it, the most compelling among study participants was that they were getting clinically validated dosing, followed closely by enhanced absorption and convenient packaging.” She added that cost was less of a factor than supplement quality.

“Smart Chews also provide an option for seniors who may want to use your brand, but who are not willing to take a large soft gel. This expands your marketplace reach,” adds Van Maris.

Children’s preference test

Brain health and development are among the dominant drivers for chewable children’s Omega-3 supplement usage. Children like gummies, which ensures effortless compliance.

However, parents tend to be concerned about their sugar content, artificial dyes/flavours and that they too closely resemble candy. Individually sealed to ensure stability and freshness, sugar-free Smart Chews are made with natural flavours.

A Smart Chews vs. gummies preference test, followed by a four-week Smart Chews compliance test, was conducted among 38 American families (caretakers and their children ages 4 through 12). The methodology was similar to the adult acceptance test. After four weeks:

  • Smart Chews had a 99% compliance rate and zero drop outs
  • 84% of caretakers intended to buy Smart Chews for their family
  • 95% of caretakers said they would recommend ConCordix Smart Chews

“Interestingly, by the end of the study, children were reminding their parents daily about their Smart Chew; older kids were proactively taking it daily on their own,” observes Wood.

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