Chia, the super nutritious seed that’s full of omega-3s, protein, fiber and calcium, has officially leaped from obscurity to the forefront of natural products innovation. Chia was everywhere at Natural Products Expo West 2012, holding its own as a stand-alone ingredient and mixed into everything from chips and bread to energy drinks and smoothies.
1. Chia Chargers Be Kind nut butters
Why settle for peanuts when you can crunch on more nutritious chia seeds? New York Superfoods’ Chia Chargers Be Kind nut butters blend in chia for a distinctive texture and appearance, boosted with flavors like chocolate, paprika, and coffee. These tasty spreads also garnered a Delicious Living/Natural Foods Merchandiser Editor’s Choice Award.
2. The Chia Company chia oil
I’m a fan of this company’s traceability program; they grow, harvest, and produce all of their chia products themselves (and also won an Editor’s Choice Award). The clean-tasting oil makes a nice, vegan alternative to fish oil (and tastes way better), and unlike flaxseed oil, chia oil is so antioxidant-rich that it keeps well without refrigeration. I predict we’ll see more chia oil showing up in natural products across the board.
The latest in drinkable chia (a category paved by Mamma Chia), these tasty smoothies use ground rather than whole chia seeds for a less-gummy texture. You also get two servings of fruit per serving (my favorite is the Mango-J)-and zero added sugar. Lightweight, eco-friendly aluminum bottles are cool, too.
4. Nature’s Path Love Crunch Granola and Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola
Chia is clearly on the rise in the extensive Nature’s Path product line. The Love Crunch Apple Crumble premium granola features these great seeds, as does the soon-to-be-released Chia Plus line. At Expo West, Nature’s Path also unveiled its new and lovely packaging; the thinner boxes reduce waste.