‘For­got­ten’ grains make a come­back

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FOOD -

Launch num­bers for food and drink prod­ucts con­tain­ing grains such as quinoa, chia, buck­wheat, hemp and ama­ranth have been ris­ing in re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to data from In­no­va­tion Mar­ket In­sights.

Prod­ucts con­tain­ing quinoa rose nearly 50 per cent over the 12 months to the end of Septem­ber 2013, for ex­am­ple, and have risen more than five­fold over a five-year pe­riod. Ris­ing in­ter­est in the US has largely been re­spon­si­ble for this growth, al­though launches are now be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon in Europe.

Quinoa is indige­nous to South Amer­ica, and as well as find­ing a place in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent grain-based food cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing break­fast ce­re­als, snack bars and bis­cuits, ac­tiv­ity in other sec­tors is ris­ing and now in­cludes con­fec­tionery, bev­er­ages, ready meals and baby foods.

There is also a fo­cus on gluten-free for­mu­la­tions, with 38 per cent of launches fea­tur­ing quinoa us­ing a gluten-free po­si­tion­ing in the 12 months to the end of Septem­ber 2013.

An­other up­com­ing an­cient grain is chia, a Latin Amer­i­can an­nual herb high in protein, di­etary fi­bre and an­tiox­i­dants, with a high con­cen­tra­tion of omega 3 fatty acids in its oil. Al­though much less es­tab­lished than quinoa, it is show­ing a sim­i­lar growth rate.

Launches of prod­ucts con­tain­ing chia rose from prob­a­bly sin­gle fig­ures five years ago to in the hun­dreds now, with an in­crease of nearly 50 per cent in the 12 months to the end of Septem­ber 2013 alone.

“An­cient grains were once very pop­u­lar ba­sic food ce­re­als, but be­came largely ob­so­lete in many coun­tries, with the rise of mod­ern ce­real crops, such as wheat and corn,” said Lu Ann Wil­liams, di­rec­tor of in­no­va­tion at In­nova Mar­ket In­sights.

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