Sales of food and drink products fortified with Omega-3 fatty acids are booming, with the market increasing in value from US$100m in 2002 to $2bn in 2006.

The market for Omega-3 enhanced foods blossomed in 2004, when the FDA approved the health claim that consumption reduced the risk of heart disease.

A new study by Packaged Facts, 'Omega-3 fatty acids and the US food and beverage market', has predicted that this meteoric rise is set to continue, with the market expected to be worth an estimated $7bn by 2011. This represents a compound annual growth rate of over 60% between 2002 and 2011.

The sector is dominated by sales of grain-based foods, such as bars, breads and cereals. Such products currently account for 86% of the market. However, the dairy segment has seen marked growth of late, driven by innovation and new product launches, including fortified yoghurts, milk, ice cream and cheeses. This growth, Packaged Facts suggests, is likely to continue.

"Omega-3-fortified foods are highly recognisable to today's health-conscious consumer, and the once 'fishy-flavoured foods' are now behind us, thanks to exceptional advances in Omega-3 food ingredients," said Don Montuori, the publisher of Packaged Facts. "By all indications, the addition of Omega-3s is not only the current hottest fortified food trend, it will remain so for years to come."