Despite 500% sales increase, leading organic chia seed brand shifts product mix to alleviate agricultural stress in South America
(Oxnard, Calif. – May 9, 2012) Nutiva®, the world’s leading brand of organic hemp foods, coconut oil, and chia seeds, announced today its response to the worldwide shortage of organic chia due to unexpected weather conditions in South America and increased mainstream market demand. Effective immediately, Nutiva will suspend all sales of its organic bulk 3lb and 10lb chia sizes until further notice, and will focus efforts on its 14 oz size—allowing for continued direct to consumer availability.
Organic chia, an ancient healing ingredient that is the plant world’s number-one source of omega-3, has more antioxidants than blueberries and is a good source of fiber, has seen a dramatic increase in popularity in recent months, spurred by the media’s megaphone touting its health benefits. In the past year alone, demand for Nutiva’s organic chia seed has increased five-fold, making the company America’s fastest-growing chia seed brand and the world’s leading certified-organic chia seed brand.
Said John W. Roulac, Nutiva founder and CEO, “When we added organic chia to our superfood family 18 months ago, I did a lot of educating on its benefits and how it’s consumed, and at the time only a very small market was interested. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the position we are in today. The bottom line is the nascent organic chia industry in South America is quite small, and struggling to meet demand. We have to react in real time to a global problem that’s effecting farmers while continuing to sell a product without sacrificing the integrity of its ingredients.”
About 400 hectares of Peruvian chia crops were wiped out in the past few months, due to a once-in-120-years deluge that lasted well over 30 days. CEO Roulac visited this region only last December and found it dry and desolate, relying heavily upon irrigation from the mountains. And in Paraguay, last year’s crop was devastated by a killing frost, and this year’s crop yield hangs in the balance based on a possible freeze within the next 45 days.
Nutiva, who’s sales have been growing at a 42 percent annual rate since 2005, and have doubled in the past 90 days are one of few brands whose chia is certified organic. A strong proponent of putting people before profit, Nutiva supports smaller organic farms, where the weeding is done by hand, rather than sprayed with harmful herbicides and chemical fertilizers. The company estimates it could be a year or longer before bulk shipment resumes, but is doing everything it can to shorten the timeframe. 100% of Nutiva sales are certified organic.
Nutiva® is dedicated to a healthy and sustainable world, demonstrating its mission to nourish people and planet by using delicious organic ingredients, enriching the soil, and donating 1 percent of sales to sustainable-agriculture groups. Founded in 1999, Nutiva is the world’s best-selling brand of nutritious organic hemp foods, extra-virgin coconut oil, and chia seeds. Its products are offered by 15,000 retailers in the United States, Canada, and the European Union, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Publix, Safeway, Loblaws, and Amazon.com.