Chia and dietary fiber for AHD International at IFT

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salvia hispanica, Nutrition

Developments in dietary fibers and chia seeds are expected to dominate the offerings of ingredients group AHD International at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo taking place next month.

The functional ingredient manufacturer says that it will be using this year’s event to play up what it sees as key advances in its offerings such as the branded dietary fiber LuraLean, which it has been actively backing this year following a number of clinical trials into the product. The Chia Company, which acts as a source supplier to the group, will also be in attendance at the show to demonstrate offerings of its seed ranges.

Chias

Black and white Chia Seeds, as well as Chia Meal, Oil, Powder and gluten-free Chia Flour represent some of the products to be dis[played at the event, according to AHD International. Chia is the edible seed of the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, which grows in Latin American countries including Mexico, Argentina and Peru.

The manufacturer suggested that the seeds have been linked to providing dietary fiber, proteins, antioxidants and plant-based omega-3 in the form of EFAs.

AHS International president John Alkire said the focus represented a healthy interest in the wider functional food and beverage market, a trend he said was reflected in the needs of their customers.

"Our expanding, naturally-sourced ingredient library offers manufacturers some innovative options to improve the nutritional profile of their product lines and deliver consumers the health benefits they are demanding from their foods and beverages,”​ he stated.

Market

AHD moved late last year to extend its presence in chia seeds as a growing number of manufacturers like Navitas Naturals also look to the segment to boost their footing in the market for omega-3 products

Although chia has not traditionally formed part of the western diet, figures released by Datamonitor last year suggest that the ingredient is being increasingly used as a ‘novel’ functional ingredient.

The market researcher’s Productscan database picked up a number of new food and beverage products featuring ‘ancient grains’, including chia, quinoa, kamut and amaranth.

In 2007, there were 515 new products launched globally that contained these grains, essentially doubling the 257 launches recorded in 2005. Compared with 2004, when they were only 112 new products that used these grains, the rise is even more striking, representing a five-fold increase.

According to Datamonitor, an increased interest in grains is closely linked to overall consumer intentions to eat healthy products. Over 63 per cent of American and 58 per cent of European consumers surveyed in 2006 said that it was either "important"​ or "very important" ​to reduce consumption of processed foods, it said.

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