Chia seeds are classified as superfoods, meaning they are low in calories but high in nutritious value.
They have a mild taste, meaning they are easily mixed with other ingredients, Walsh said.
“It's so versatile and the taste is so mild that it’s very easy for people to like and it’s very helpful,” she said.
Critics across the country agree with Walsh and her husband, which was demonstrated when their company, New York Superfoods Inc., won two national awards: the Editor’s Choice 2012 Food & Beverage Award at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, and the Next Big Small Brand Contest.
“We get repeat customers all the time,” Walsh added, “whether it’s the stores [or individuals], they always come back and order again.”
To launch their investigation into the chia seed, Walsh and her husband scoured their local Manhattan grocery stores to see if any health food companies were selling it in a bar.
When they couldn’t find any, they decided to develop their own chia snack. But rather than make an energy bar, they decided to make smaller bite-sized snacks.
“Instead of doing a bar we do three one-ounce sized portions,” Walsh said, so “if someone just wants to watch their calories and their weight, just have a quick snack.”
The chia seed offers metabolic stabilization, the ability to retain up to nine times their weight in water, and are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, according to the company’s Web site.
The ingredients New York Superfoods include gluten-free oats, peanuts, walnuts, cranberries, sunflower seeds and sweet or spicy paprika.
“We just want to make sure whatever we produce is healthy,” Walsh said.
She also recommended cooking with the chia seed, suggesting putting it in cookie batter, salad or oatmeal.
“It won’t overwhelm the taste of whatever it is that you’re cooking,” she said.
They make New York Superfoods out of a commercial kitchen in the Queens Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurial Space, known as the E-Space, in Long Island City.
Currently the bars, along with their other specialty items, including BeKind Butters, which won the award in Anaheim, and an assortment of granola, are sold online and in about 20 stores in Florida, California and Maryland.
The goods are also sold in both Elm Health locations in Manhattan.
Walsh said they hope to sell New York Superfoods in Queens and Brooklyn soon.
However, that goal should be met soon, when they acquire a spot in the Brooklyn Flea, a market at 176 Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene on Saturdays, and the East River Waterfront, between North Sixth and Seventh streets on Sundays.
Next on the to-do list, Walsh said, is developing a sales team and finding a distributor.
For more information or to order products, visit NYsuperfoods.com.