In North America, Mexico is the largest producer of chia seeds, with 2,893.4 metric ton produced in the year 2018, and it accounted for around 99% of production in the region. Chia seeds do not follow the commoditization trend, as the market is still small, where supply is unstable, and there is a lack of awareness of the high-quality standards demanded by large industries. However, as more consumers are now aware of chia seeds and their benefits, the market is likely to witness tremendous growth in North America. Organic and non-GMO variants are the emerging trend for chia seeds. In terms of product launches, chia seeds are used as a functional ingredient in various bakery products, muesli bars, peanut butter, cereals, and other food products. The main hurdle to the Canadian chia seeds market is their high price, due to which, chia seeds can easily be replaced by alternative seeds with similar health benefits, like flax seeds, in the country.
Key Market Trends
High Imports of Chia Seeds
North America produces chia seeds in a minimal amount. The region mainly imports chia seeds from various countries, such as China, Paraguay, Mexico, and Argentina. Chia seeds are readily available in grocery stores because they have a high demand in the region. They contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and they are believed to boost energy, stabilize blood sugar, and help with digestion. These benefits lead to the high imports of the seeds in the region. The chia products being introduced in the United States market was 4% in 2009, which sharply rose to 55% in 2013. This clearly displays the increase in demand for chia-based products in the country, which are met by the escalating imports in the study period.
United States- The Largest Consumer of Chia Seeds in the Region
The United States produces minimal quantities of chia in the mid/southwestern and eastern parts of the country. Based on the inputs from industry stakeholders, the US chia seeds market was estimated at USD 5,340.6 thousand in the year 2018, most of the sales are in the pure seed form. In 2010, only 27% of US consumers reported that they had heard of chia as a food item. However, by 2014, this fragment grew to over 37%.
Chia seeds are labeled as ‘superfoods’ in the United States, and thus, most of the merchants cite vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant contents on the packages to attract customers. Due to the presence of high protein, omega-3 fatty acid, and fiber content, in the past few years, there was an increase in the consumption of chia seeds. As such, in the United States, the seeds are being increasingly integrated into the trends of health and food sectors, such as snacks, energy drinks, or aggregate with cereal, which is fueling the market for chia seeds in the country.
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