“The need for natural and affordable products with genuine proven health benefits, which is also suitable for flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans, is a very inspiring trend for us,” Sandra Gillot, CEO of Benexia, told NutraIngredients-USA.
According to Gillot, there is a void in the market when it comes to delivering omega-3 oils to vegans or vegetarians. “The omega-3 is a deficient nutrient in the vegetarian diet,” she said. Chia, which studies have shown to contain a higher proportion of alpha-linolenic acid, can be a “critical [part] of maintaining tissue long chain omega-3 levels,” Gillot added.
For the new supplement line, Benexia produces the oil, which is then sent to the US or Europe for manufacturing into a softgel. On the other hand, the Sow line of packaged food—which includes pasta, smoothie powder, and cold-pressed cooking oil—is produced in Benexia’s own facilities, which now also accommodates private label orders of these products.
Starting in Latin America and Europe, expanding to US soon
Products in both the nutraceutical line and the food line are poised to launch in Latin America and Europe. For a US launch, “we are exploring the opportunity together with our distributors, Taiyo International. We will have more news at Expo West,” Gillot added.
But as a supplier of chia ingredients for use in finished products, would having its own business-to-consumer line put Benexia in competition with its own customers? “Not at all! We want to offer concepts under SOW and Benexia that inspire our customers,” Gillot said.
“Concepts that we offer will be under SOW and [the supplement line] Benexia, under private label or in bulk from our ingredient line. Our ingredients are very versatile, they can be mixed with other plant-based protein or other fiber source for a better nutrition profile."
The launch gives Benexia an ever slice of the $3.1 billion plant-based nutrition market, according to data market research firm Nielsen compiled for the Plant based Foods Association last September. That's an 8.1% increase from the year before.
“The plant-based blends industry is booming and we want to be a partner for new product development for our customers,” Gillot said. “So, due to the huge size of the natural food and supplement market globally, plus the almost infinite combinations of mixes we can launch, SOW will be always in the leading edge, to be followed by private label projects worldwide.”