Mamma Chia, started by entrepreneur Janie Hoffman in 2009, has become a strong US based chia brand that besides an amazing and delicious line of energy drinks and bars has a strong commitment to sustainability and social justice programs. Here is some information Ms. Hoffman shared with OWN recently. Mamma Chia was the first to launch a certified organic chia beverage in 2011.

OWN: Why did you start the company and did you expect the success it has achieved today?

JH: After being challenged for almost 20 years with a variety of debilitating autoimmune disorders, and after years of trying numerous diets and medical treatments, it was only when I was introduced to chia and switched to an organic diet that I finally went into complete remission. Those tiny little seeds had a dramatic effect on my overall health and vitality, and it became my mission to share the magic of chia with the world. So, I started Mamma Chia. At that point I clearly saw the potential for a brand that could harness the nutritional prowess of chia while uplifting and honoring the soul of humanity as well as the soul of the planet.

OWN: Are chia products still benefitting from the Ancient Seeds & Grains trend?

JH: Mamma Chia has certainly benefitted from consumers’ renewed interest in ancient seeds and grains; however that only facilitates the introduction. It’s our great-tasting products that provide tangible vitality and nutritional benefits that keep our customers coming back for more.

OWN: What part do the health benefits of chia play in the success of Mamma Chia’s products?

JH: The nutritional properties of chia – heart and brain benefits from Omega-3s, protein, fiber and others – are a big selling point to our customers. But they also love that our products are fun, delicious and fulfilling. That is really the core Mamma Chia differentiator – our products taste great while also having an impressive nutritional profile. Customers also respond to our environmental message and stewardship, which is equally at the core of our company and part of our mission.

OWN: Are organic higher chia prices a challenge?

JH: Organic, high-quality chia can be expensive but Mamma Chia has long-standing relationships with our beautiful chia growers to ensure we can provide delicious, high-quality products. And we invest a great deal in establishing authentic connections with our community and furthering their education on the nutritional powerhouse that is the chia seed.

OWN: Tell us about recent achievements and milestones for Mamma Chia

JH: We’re especially proud of two recent product introductions. Our Chia & Greens drink harnesses the power of chia combined with vibrant greens. The beverages taste great while having much less sugar than many other green drinks in the category. We released four unique flavors each delivering 2500mg of Omega-3s, seven grams of fiber, four grams of complete protein, 25% RDA of Vitamin A, and 95mg of calcium.
And we also recently introduced our line of Chia Vitality Bars with only 4g of sugar. These flavor-packed bars taste so delicious that people find it hard to believe they only have four grams of sugar. The bars have a perfectly balanced flavor from combining chia seeds with almonds, peanuts, pecans, quinoa, popped sorghum, brown rice crisps, and a touch of sea salt.
There’s just enough sweetness to create a truly delightful treat that’s good for your body yet tastes like an indulgence. Each of the four flavors provides 1000mg of Omega-3s, as well as protein and at least four grams of fiber.

OWN: Is Mamma Chia finding new export markets?

JH: Mamma Chia began exporting internationally back in 2014 with Canada being our first expansion market. In 2015 we grew to over 15 markets ranging from Australia to Iceland. We anticipate 2016 to be even more robust with the introduction of Mamma Chia into the UK and EU markets. Mamma Chia will be exhibiting in booth 2050 at the 62nd Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, 26-28th of June this year.