The main aim of the EnRichMar project is to increase the value of convenience food by adding functional ingredients, produced from underutilised marine based raw materials and by-products from fish processing, with confirmed bioavailability. The focus will be placed on ingredients such as powder of fish oil and seaweed extracts which may enhance positive health effects and stability, enhance flavour and consequently contribute to salt reduction of the products to meet market demand. The functional properties of the enriched products will be studied via dietary intervention. Only a few natural food antioxidants are commercially available on the market and the use of synthetic antioxidants has declined due to consumer awareness and demand for natural protection. Rosemary extracts have been the most successful natural plant based antioxidants commercialized so far. Research shows that seaweed extracts from certain brown algae species, e.g. Fucus vesiculosus, have superior antioxidant activities in addition to other unique properties (e.g. antiinflammatory and anti-diabetic activities) which make them highly attractive for use in various food systems. Due to a strong market demand and very positive preliminary tests it is believed that seaweed extracts can be highly competitive on the market and find various uses in food. A unique new tasteless powder (1 LifeActive) ingredient is new on the market with the ability to both regulate and maintain the body’s omega -6/omega-3 fatty acid balance while simultaneously safeguarding the daily need for omega-3 from fish and protective biological antioxidants from olives (flavonoids). By adding this omega powder to lean fish products, the lean fish products will acquire the requested properties of fatty fish. By adding the omega powder to other foods like dairy and cereals possibilities will open up for broader categories of convenience food for targeted consumers. Recent process improvements have created new possibilities for the use of marine based ingredients in functional foods. Consumers increasingly tend to favour functional foods as means to prevent diseases. With increased knowledge about the effects of functional ingredients consumers increasingly choose foods that fit their specific health conditions. EnRichMar will develop product prototypes and add information on the effect of consuming food enriched with omega-3 and omega-6 on mental health and cognition and foods enriched with seaweed extract on inflammatory and oxidative stress markers as well as anti-diabetic effects.
The consortium of EnRichMar is well positioned to implement the project according to its objective. Successful development of different enriched foods with marine based ingredients with confirmed bioavailability will have a great impact on strengthening the current market status of the SME partners, resulting in growth in income and employment.