Posts Tagged ‘bolivia’

Squeeze On Quinoa Supply?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Quinoa in Bolivia

We’ve already touched on the surge in demand for quinoa as people, particularly in the west, become educated on the fantastic properties of this tiny seed (yes, technically quinoa is a seed, but it is often referred to as a grain!). It would be fair to say that quinoa is fast becoming a hit in North America as it lands on the shelves of mainstream grocers.

However, times aren’t so great for the world’s main exporter of quinoa. In Bolivia, drought and late freezes have halved output this year. We’ll be following up on this to see if and when it may affect wholesale prices. We source quinoa for food manufacturers from both Bolivia and Peru to help ensure a decent supply of this amazing seed that can be used in a multitude of food applications.

Watch more on the problems in Bolivia from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Creative Commons License photo credit: einalem

A Mother’s Milk & A Seed From Peru

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Quinoa consumption and production have exploded in recent years. The trend is reflected in search volume for Qunioa:

Quinoa Trend

According to Yahoo! News, Bolivia and Peru account for almost 97% of production. In Bolivia exports have risen from slightly over 1400 metric tons in 2000 to 14500 metric tons in 2009 with wholesale prices increasing 700% over the period. What is driving this huge demand? Quinoa is actually a seed, but not just any seed:

  • It provides 10 essential amino acids and is loaded with minerals.
  • It has a protein content between 14 and 18%.
  • It has been suggested that quinoa is the most perfect food for the human diet with the FAO (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) suggesting it can be substituted for mother’s milk – it is that nutritious.
  • Even though it’s a seed, it’s eaten like a grain. However, it is gluten-free and therefore more easily digestible.
  • It can be substituted for rice in almost any application.

The popularity of Quinoa is starting to impact the lives of those that produce it in South America. It is hoped that this new found demand will lift farmers out of poverty, with quinoa now considered a strategic crop in Bolivia, the world’s largest producer.

Read More:

    Demand for Quinoa Surges

    Monday, June 21st, 2010

    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.

    Here’s another thing you can do: subscribe to the Ingredient Hotline blog today and follow us on twitter so you can stay up to date on the latest in innovative, all natural food ingredients.

    Quinoa: Bolivia’s nutty-tasting export success

    Photo Credit: Christian Guthier