The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has already granted novel foods approval and Ingredia is now awaiting approval from the European Commission.
The omega-3 rich chia-based oil can be used to replace 10% of plant oils in a range of food and beverage applications, including baked goods, breakfast cereal and bars and snacks.
The ingredient has already proved popular in a host of applications including bread, cereal bars and biscuits across global markets such as Brazil, Chile and the US but Benexia’s commercial director Juan De Salas said the oil had bigger potential in Europe because of nutritional and health claims that could be made.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com at Vitafoods Europe 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, De Salas and his colleague Aurélie Vromain, product manager at Benexia, said in oil form, the chia ingredient opened up a window of opportunities.
The ancient grains trend was helping the appeal of chia in bakery, snacks and cereals, Vromain said, but in seed form, potential remained limited.
Stable, neutral taste and omega-3 punch
De Salas said bakery, snack and cereal makers were keen to enrich their products with omega-3s but fish-based ingredients threw up taste problems. The chia oil, he said, was a stable, neutral-tasting and rich alternative.
The oil remained stable in food matrixes and contained more than 65% omega-3s, he explained, and the neutral, nutty flavor worked extremely well in cereal-based products. “…Companies who’ve been looking for omega-3 ingredients now see a tremendous opportunity.”