After ten years of research and backing from the French government and the European Union, last summer saw French breeding company Panam launch Chia de France – a ‘made in French’ chia seed supply chain.
“The objective of Chia de France is to structure an innovative sector with high added value, offering a local alternative to products so far imported from Mexico and Central America.”
In this way, it reduces carbon emissions and offers consumers a farm-to-fork traceability, it said.
The non-GMO plants were developed using non-GMO breeding techniques to flower early, meaning they can be planted in April and harvested in September or October, avoiding cold winter temperatures. They also require little irrigation and no fertilisers or pesticides, says Chia de France.
“For the buyer, this French sector guarantees price stability and respected delivery of a stable and homogeneous product that meets precise specifications and European requirements for consumption.
“For the producer - and there are already a hundred all around France – the Chia De France supply chain guarantees contracts with buyers, with the opportunity to plan activity and a fair and sustainable income.”
Chia de France said the trademarked Oruro chia will be grown according to organic and ‘sustainable agriculture’ standards, and it has created a logo that manufacturers can add to their products.
At the end of 2017, Chia de France farmers were producing around 500 tonnes annually. According to Panam, Europe currently imports around 20,000 tonnes a year, and this is growing.
In addition to a protein content of around 20%, Oruro chia seeds also contain 32% essential omega-3fatty acids.
According to Chia de France, the seeds are a more sustainable source of these healthy fats than the more habitual fish or krill.