Agri-Marketing Program, AAFC
Developing Food Markets for a Canadian Health Claim for Flax
Flax (Linum usitatissimum) is an important oilseed crop for Canadian producers and processors. Although currently a small market, the food ingredient area is growing in both value and importance.
Two major factors lay the foundation for future growth throughout the flaxseed value chain and are opportunities: 1) the strong growing demand for healthy food; and 2) a new Health Canada approved claim linking flaxseed products to a reduction of blood cholesterol approved in August 2013. The acceptance of this claim will be another science-based tool for the promotion of flax into this significant marketplace – both domestically and internationally.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under its Agri-Marketing program has awarded the Flax Council funding to: 1) Raise awareness about the existence of the health claim; 2) Provide information to food manufacturers on how to formulate foods that are eligible to carry the health claim; and 3) Educate health and wellness professionals about flax’s role in a healthy lifestyle and the importance of the claim.
Canada is a leading world supplier of flaxseed for food markets. There is great potential for the sector to expand and take advantage of the opportunities that a health claim offers. The activities being conducted under AMP will result in a greater market pull for flaxseed containing foods from consumers and hence a greater number of such foods fortified and marketed domestically. This will lead to a demand for greater acreage of flax, which will benefit flax producers.
The overall outcome of the activities will be the growth of the Canadian flaxseed food markets both domestically and internationally and higher value markets for flax producers in the food sector. The immediate focus will be Canada, the U.S., China, Philippines and India which represent human consumption markets that currently are most interested in flax for use in health and nutrition. This claim will assist processors and flax suppliers in their promotion and other efforts to increase their market share in both current and emerging markets.