Chia de France is supporting the development of a chia culture to ensure availability of a new plant source of Omega 3. The chia agricultural sector is new to France and Europe. Chia de France is an initiative to support and finance research projects, to address the health impact of the deficiency of Omega 3.

The project promotes the increased consumption of chia, the tiny seed known in Mexico since Pre-Colombian times, to counter this deficiency and to improve overall well-being. There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA, all associated with vital functions. 

"They support eye health, circulation and heart function, have a significant positive effect on male fertility, and help to fight against the development of Alzheimer, Parkinson, anxiety and depression."

“Today, nine out of ten French consumers have an Omega 3 deficiency, a fatty acid essential for the human body,” said Marion Bessoles Development Engineer at PANAM, initiator of Chia de France.

“We are campaigning in France for everyone to become aware of the benefits of this wonderful little seed and to integrate it into their eating habits,” said Ms. Bessoles.

The main source of Omega 3 used today comes from non-renewable sea resources, which are already showing signs of stress-the oceans are running out of fish.

Studies estimate that if overfishing is not controlled, along with global warming and the amount of plastic and other pollutants that end up in the water, the oceans will be fish depleted by 2050.

The locally grown Chia seed ORURO® represents a suitable ecological and safe alternative source of Omega 3 to sea resources.

Chia de France was officially launched last year on June 27th in Paris with a conference at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. PANAM, an agricultural firm, developed the chia variety ORURO® after ten years of research. It is a unique chia variety that can be cultivated in the European climate. It is also certified organic and non-GMO.

A regional project called CHIA-INNOV, supported by the regional government of Occitanie in France and the EU, has been implemented to better understand Chia ORURO®. It will study production conditions in France, the different products that can be derived from chia, and a full spectrum of end products that chia could offer to consumers. The initiative is a pioneer project on the subject. The CHIA-INNOV project has attracted four main supporting partners: Agrofun, which is specialized in the development of early Chia varieties; the laboratory of agro-industrial chemistry (LCA) in tandem with COREVA, both specialists in the extraction and transformation of plant oils; and the EMERAUDE organic cosmetics laboratory. Two million euros will be invested by the consortium over two years to develop applications for chia seed and its by-products for cosmetics, food, feed, and supplements.

Around 2500 BC, chia seed was one of the four Mayan staple crops, along with corn, beans and amaranth. Its name comes from the náhuatl indigenous language of Mexico. The " Seed of the Gods" as they called it was a food particularly popular among hunters and warriors in time of conflict. The chia seed is the most concentrated plant source of Omega 3 known. Only 10 g of chia seeds per day (the equivalent of a teaspoon) cover the Omega 3 daily requirement.

Until now, the chia seeds available in France were imported from Latin America due to the fact that there was no adapted variety for cultivation in its temperate climate. Its cultivation in France is now possible with the arrival of the first Oruro® early variety, which has an adapted photoperiod for the French climate. The aim of the Chia de France initiative is to offer chia seeds with no pesticide residues and absolute traceability from farmer to consumer. Chia de France also guarantees sustainable production methods, stable prices and the possibility for producers and industrial buyers to better plan their operational activities.