Nelson-based sisters Chloe and Florence Van Dyke are behind natural drink company CHIA. Rich in fibre and omega-3, along with essential nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and electrolytes, Chia drinks are about adventure, good food and living a sustainable lifestyle.

Chloe and Florence Van Dyke

Chloe and Florence Van Dyke

What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“Chloe, who has a post-graduate diploma in neuroscience, travelled to the Himalayas for a trekking expedition in 2011 and took chia seeds with her. At high altitudes, Chloe 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 the mountain, Chloe, who has a post-graduate degree in neuroscience, 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 the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“We blend organic hydrated chia seeds with antioxidant-rich juices to create three flavours; orange and passion fruit, blueberry and blackcurrant. CHIA is 100 percent natural, vegan and gluten-free with no added sugar, no preservatives and no artificial colours.”

Has there been any recent company news?
“In late April, Florence Van Dyke was selected to attend an Asia New Zealand Foundation Young Business Leader’s Initiative in Indonesia, and last week we made the Nelson mail again.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward? Is there any expansion on the horizon?
“Currently, we are working on two new flavours of CHIA and also looking at the markets in Australia, South Korea and Taiwan.”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“CHIA is currently available in café, whole foods stores and supermarkets across New Zealand. We are also looking at increasing our stockists as part of our philosophy of making nutritious foods available to everyone. This month we have also started stocking organic packaged quinoa and chia seeds at a handful of supermarkets in the South Island.”

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