Demand for Quinoa Surges

quinoa

There is a surge in demand for the ancient grain Quinoa, driven by a new found awareness of its nutritional value. Quinoa is a chenopod, so it’s actually closely related to species such as beets and spinach. While the greens can be consumed, it’s the grains which are typically used in food. Quinoa’s protein content is very high (12%–18%) and unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is high in lysine and therefore has a complete set of essential amino acids. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber. Besides being high in magnesium and iron, Quinoa is gluten-free and as such, easy to digest. Check out the search volume and news reference trends for quinoa since 2004:

quinoa search volume trends

According to Global Post, the demand for this grain has caused prices in Bolivia, the world’s largest quinoa exporter, to soar and exports to North America have risen over 300% since 2005:

But only in the past five years has its value to farmers has jumped through the roof, with international markets suddenly taking an interest in this nutritious food. This demand has changed the lives of quinoa farmers in Bolivia, which is the world’s largest quinoa exporter…In the 1980s, 100 pounds of quinoa sold for $7 inside Bolivia. Now the same amount of high-quality organic quinoa can sell for more than $100 to vendors in the United States or Europe.

Hopefully this demand will be offset by greater supplies as farmers realize the economic potential of this crop.

We like the potential for using quinoa flour in bread and bakery applications. The proper preparation of quinoa is essential since quinoa has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins. Therefore good quinoa has been processed to remove this coating. This process usually involves rinsing the grains. It has been suggested that this bitter coating may have caused early European settlers to south america to reject it as a food source. Quinoa is becoming widely available to consumers. If you’re a food manufacturer interested in using quinoa we’d be happy to discuss how it can be applied in your products. We currently source quinoa from Peru.

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Quinoa: Bolivia’s nutty-tasting export success

Photo Credit: Christian Guthier

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