Image by James K Lowe
For the most of us, we are forever advocating alternative healthy food choices however we are often met by troublesome barriers such as time. Low and behold, New Zealand made CHIA, founded by Chloe Van Dyke, offers us a tasty and efficient way to consume omega 3, antioxidants and essential nutrients all from one good looking glass bottle. CHIA has become a definite favourite of ours at RUBY HQ since its inception in 2012.
We caught up with Chloe's right hand woman and sister, Florence Van Dyke to find out more about their delicious and salubrious drinks…
How did CHIA come about?
CHIA began in our family kitchen. We grew up eating healthy foods - Dad is an age-group champion swimmer and I compete in triathlons so eating nutrient-dense wholefoods has always been important to our family. Chloe, who has a post graduate diploma in neuroscience, travelled to the Himalyas for a trekking expedition in 2011 and took chia seeds with her. At high altitudes she hydrated the seeds and mixed them with blackcurrant powder for sustenance. The impact of the chia seeds was immediately noticeable - they provided sustained hydration, slow release of nutrients and the magnesium eased muscle cramps. Once down from the mountain, Chloe returned to Nelson, teamed up with our father, Ben and they started playing around with the formula. The natural drink business of CHIA was born!
What are both of your roles within the business?
Chloe is the founder of CHIA and oversees everything in the business. Her focus is both on the present and the future. She ensures that CHIA is made and delivered at the highest quality possible and looks to how CHIA can improve, evolve and grow. CHIA is an innovative brand with a focus on health. Chloe's aim is to not just lead the food and beverage industry in healthy options but to bring creativity into a highly competitive market.
My role is in export negotiations and sales. This is exciting as CHIA is growing so quickly. At the moment I am meeting with potential distributors from Australia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia to consider how we can best strategize entering these new markets. I am also traveling to Indonesia next month as part of the New Zealand Young Business Leaders Initiative to check out the beverage market there.
We have a fantastic team of CHIA reps across the country who help me out with sales and customer relations in New Zealand. We work hard but we also see the importance of having fun. Giving the mind a break is often when new creative ideas are formed. Giving the team the time to enjoy the outdoors and take breaks is a priority (so much so that the entire team was out of the office for the Coast to Coast last month).
What is it that excites you most about the New Zealand food industry?
New Zealand is a fantastic place to start a business. The local communities in New Zealand are innovative and willing to support small businesses. The food industry is particularly exciting because New Zealand foodies are so passionate and committed to providing a high quality product. Foods like Raglan Coconut Yoghurt and Dovedale bread are first class in their industry - we are lucky to have them on our doorstep!
What's your favourite way to enjoy CHIA?
We love CHIA every way! At the moment I am addicted to bircher muesli topped with blackcurrant CHIA and Raglan Coconut Yoghurt for breakfast (you can find the recipe below).
What’s next for CHIA?
There is so much growth happening for CHIA at the moment that it is difficult to pinpoint everything that is coming next. We have a new CHIA drink in the works. I can't spill the exact flavour but coconut water and chia seeds are the top two ingredients. We are expanding internationally which is challenging and exiting at the same time and we are supporting a whole heap of awesome athletes. One of our key business philosophies is to support people acting on their dreams.
BIRCHER MUESLI TOPPED WITH CHIA
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup buckwheat
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 handful of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
1 handful of any other nuts (walnuts and hazlenuts are my favourites)
1 cup of Carew kitchen almond milk
- Mix all of your ingredients together and then add water to cover the mixture by an inch. Leave to soak overnight.
2 tablespoons Raglan Coconut Yoghurt
1 tablespoon 'Vigour Vitality hazelnut butter
Fresh fruit (can't beat grated apple and berries)
1/2 a CHIA Drink
Thanks ladies x