Product developers are continuously looking for new ideas to introduce to the market place, and for novel ingredients to give a product a really interesting slant. On–going member–funded research is looking at a number of these ingredients.
Chia seeds are of interest because of their protein, fibre, antioxidant and oil contents, and the possible nutritional claims that could be made when using them. As they are classed as a novel food under EU legislation, their use is controlled. In the first of a series of ingredient factsheets, we have briefly outlined the background, regulatory status, nutritional characteristics and potential uses of these seeds.
A feasibility study into their use in fruit juices found that they affect product viscosity and organoleptic characteristics. Pre–wetting was important in improving processability, and temperature affected the rate of wetting out. The seeds also decreased flavour and odour intensity in drinks. The findings of the study will be reported in Chia seeds: considerations for use, which will be on the project website along with the ingredient factsheet.