4 Nov 2013

Nelson business makes waves in its first year

8:43 am on 4 November 2013

A Nelson start-up business is making waves in the professional athletics world.

Chia Limited produces naturally flavoured bottled drinks containing the chia seed which are proving popular with swimmers and triathletes alike.

The brains behind Chia is a young neuro-science graduate from Nelson, Chloe van Dyke, who with her father Ben, a professional swimmer, set up the company in December last year.

Ms van Dyke says chia seeds have an amazing nutritional profile and she began using them hydrated herself.

She says her father was also using chia seeds as part of his routine as an endurance and recovery drink, as were other swimmers.

Ms van Dyke says they then looked at hydrating the chia seed and she researched its history.

She says the seeds were used by the Aztecs and Mayans and then made popular by the book Born to Run which looks at the Tarahumara Indians who run hundreds of kilometres through the desert sustained by these seeds.

Ms van Dyke says the company had a trial period using the seeds in Nelson and got good feedback so went from there.

Chia has just won the ANZ Flying Start Business Plan supreme award for the best overall business plan, which will offer the team more cash as well as access to training and advice, enabling them to further expand.

The drinks have been endorsed by a number of professional athletes, including Nelson triathlete Harrison Dean.

Ben van Dyke says chia seeds swell up in water and form a gel, and stay in the body allowing an athlete to remain fully hydrated for much longer than if they were just drinking water.

He says the seeds also have a nutrient and anti-oxidant value.

The team at Chia now hopes to launch their products throughout New Zealand and then into Australia and Asia.