UK - Supermarket chain Waitrose has announced that it will soon be selling chicken as a source of Omega 3 fatty acids, using birds produced by Moy Park in Northern Ireland.
Omega 3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids which, as a key part of a balanced diet, help to maintain normal heart, brain and vision function.
Research undertaken in 2013 showed that people with the highest levels of Omega 3 had a 40 per cent reduction in cardiovascular related deaths compared to people with the lowest levels, Waitrose said. Optimum health benefits are obtained from a daily intake of 250mg of Omega 3 fatty acids as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle.
However, research suggests that only 23 per cent of the UK’s adult population consumes the recommended intake, generally classified as at least one portion of oily fish per week.
Waitrose said the chicken is enriched by feeding the birds on a diet containing an algae naturally rich in omega 3. The taste and appearance of the chicken is the same as birds reared on a conventional diet.
The new product is the result of partnership between Waitrose, Moy Park and animal nutrition specialist Devenish Nutrition, and took a decade to bring to market. It aims to help children in particular, who Waitrose said often do not like oily fish.
Heather Jenkins, Waitrose’s Agricultural Director, said: “Our research is showing that this nutritional breakthrough has the potential to have a significant impact on health. What’s exciting is that it’s improving the nutritional content of something which customers already consume frequently as part of their diets.”
Justin Coleman, Moy Park Agriculture Development Manager, said: “Food and farming innovation are important focus areas for Moy Park and we are proud to be the first poultry company in the UK to produce chicken enriched with Omega 3. Including Omega 3 in the chickens' natural diet makes this already healthy food even healthier.”
Waitrose said initial trials demonstrated that people eating enriched chicken for five weeks have increased levels of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and see measurable effects on their cardiovascular health.
Initial testing was carried out on 30 healthy participants whose Omega 3 levels were measured after one, three and five weeks of eating three servings per week of Omega 3 enriched chicken meat. On average participants saw their levels of Omega 3s increase by 12 per cent.
A total of 10 different new products, including whole chickens, breast fillets and thigh meat will go on sale from 15 June, priced from £3.59 per kilo.ThePoultrySite News Desk
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