The Latest ‘Natural Fiber’ Bakery Industry Trend: A Close up on Chia Flour

Functional ingredients and trends have changed tremendously for the bakery industry in the last two decades with the latest trends hyper focused on nutritional benefits, ingredient recognition all while maintaining the sensory experience (taste, texture etc). Let’s take a look at the evolution of ingredients in better-for-you bakery products.


To meet the need of reducing fat and sugar content in baking products during the early 2000’s, the industry resorted to food additives to maintain texture and product shelf life.  As a result, the ingredient list increased exponentially with ingredients that were (and continue to be) mostly unrecognizable to the consumer. This includes oxidants and reductants (ADA, ascorbic acid, L-cystine), emulsifiers (mono-diglycerides, DATAM, lactylates and polysorbates), hydrocolloids (xanthan gum, guar gum, CMC), preservatives (propionic, sorbic, and benzoic acids), leavening agents, enzymes, and sweeteners.


By 2010, with the introduction of new ancient grains and seeds in the food industry, products started to hit the shelves that shifted their focus to the perception of better-for-you and all-natural​. We started to see ‘multi-grain’ products that contained up to seven different grains including buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, chia, flaxseed, and hemp. However, most of these were used as an inclusion in the finished product, and at very small amounts, sometimes less than 1% of the finished product which in truth, does not add much to the nutritional value of the product.  Regardless, consumers started to accept the taste, look and feel of whole grains​ in baked goods. 


Thanks to improved supply chains and better pricing these ancient grains and seeds have been utilized to develop new ingredients such as flour as well as fiber and protein concentrates​ which are easier to apply in today’s baking industry.  They also offer more nutritional and textural benefits in formulations.


Fiber is one ingredient that can be directly incorporated into better-for-you baked goods and take the place of many food additives, making the finished product simpler and cleaner​ for the consumer.

And speaking of today’s consumers, they are more knowledgeable and informed than ever before and place a greater emphasis on ingredient sourcing and nutritional attributes.  It just so happens that some of these fiber ingredients are not only nutritionally superior to most of the flour currently used in the industry but are also appropriate for specific dietary needs including gluten-free, keto, low carb, and high protein.


One popular, and natural, fiber ingredient is chia flour, a defatted milled chia seed powder.  Chia flour is high in fiber (56%), protein (25%), and healthy omega-3 fats (10%) making it an ideal ingredient when looking to boost the nutritional profile of baked products. The fiber found in chia flour, which is a combination of both insoluble and soluble fibers, touts the following:

Improves texture:​ The insoluble fiber adds body and crumb consistency to the dough formation​.  The soluble fiber, known as the chia mucilage, has a pseudo-plasticity characteristic similar to food additives such xanthan gum and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), which help to increase dough elasticity and help to maintain a flexible spongy crumb texture after baking and throughout the finished product’s shelf life​. They are also stable in both high temperature and in frozen baking applications​.

Delivers a ‘whole grain’ sensory experience: ​in flavor, smell, and color, aligning with consumer expectations​. 

Optimizes water absorption capability and yield:​  Chia flour can absorb up to nine times it’s weight in water thanks to its fiber and protein content​ which can significantly increase final product yield. The fiber holds water in the dough, keeping a low water activity and ensuring a longer shelf life compared to formulations without chia flour. This also helps keep finished product costs down.


Chia flour is gluten-free, keto friendly, low carb, and high in protein. It’s demonstrated functionality minimizes the need for additives such as eggs, stabilizers, and emulsifiers, allowing for the development of new products with fewer ingredients.  The end result? A delicious, clean, nutrient dense, more natural ingredient list aligned with current consumer demands.

Website Link (Article by BENEXIA)

Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

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