Exploring the enduring appeal of quinoa7 Oct 2019
Quinoa has become increasingly popular for several years, as consumers have turned to ancient grains and pseudo-cereals for their strong nutritional credentials. What does the future hold for quinoa?
In fact, quinoa is not a grain, but a seed, native to South America. High in potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, fibre and protein, its popularity began to increase the early 2000s with rising interest in nutritionally dense “superfoods”. Now, it is a mainstay on western supermarket shelves, often sandwiched between more traditional grains like couscous and rice – but its reputation as a nutritional powerhouse has catapulted quinoa into nearly every grocery category, from baked goods to yoghurts and even beverages.
According to Innova Market Insights, ready meals and side dishes with quinoa have seen the strongest growth, with brands positioning such products as containing ‘supergrains’, ‘whole grains’ or ‘ancient grains’, followed by the snacks category, which is more likely to use words like ‘multigrain’ or ‘ancient grain’. Since 2014, interest in vegetarian and vegan foods has led to increased use of quinoa in meat alternatives like veggie burgers, too, as well as in sports nutrition products. The sports sector promotes the nutritional benefits of quinoa – particularly its protein content – but also backs the ingredient as a plant-based, allergen-free alternative to more commonly used protein ingredients like whey or soy.
Quinoa also has benefited more widely from rising demand for allergen-free and gluten-free foods, especially with growing awareness of the nutritional value of specific gluten-free grains. Until a few years ago, gluten-free products often fell nutritionally short of their gluten-containing counterparts, but a general move toward more natural, whole food ingredients has led manufacturers to explore how to use a range of grains, including quinoa, to improve the texture, taste and nutrition of gluten-free foods. And quinoa is one of the most sought after among ancient grains. According to Mintel, it appeared in more than 2,200 new products launched globally in 2017.
Heightened demand has led to a proliferation of ingredient suppliers offering quinoa for various uses and in various forms, including raw or processed. Among other ingredients, CerealVeneta, for example, supplies heat-treated quinoa seeds, which it says improves their shelf life and organoleptic qualities. Meanwhile, MartinoRossi specialises in quinoa flour, which is either raw or heat-treated, for use in gluten-free and allergen-free applications, and Biercors produces flours and flakes from organic sprouted quinoa – among other grains – to boost the ingredient’s nutritional value still further.
While many so-called ‘superfood’ trends may prompt scepticism about their long-term potential, quinoa appears to have staying power, not least because it taps into so many broader industry trends, including for plant-based, clean eating, and for high protein, nutritionally dense foods.
Fermentation targets more eco-friendly ingredients
14 Oct 2019
Plant extracts like natural sweeteners and antioxidants make up a tiny fraction of the plants from which they are derived, meaning a relatively large land and water footprint. Could producing these compounds via fermentation be more environmentally and...Read more
Climate change fuels ingredient innovation
14 Oct 2019
From cocoa that doesn’t grow beyond a certain altitude, to wheat crops threatened by drought, the world’s changing climate presents many serious concerns for the global food supply. Enterprising crop breeders and ingredient suppliers are working on pot...Read more
Organic foods on the rise among young Europeans
7 Oct 2019
Young people are now among the biggest consumers of organic foods and beverages in Europe – and manufacturers may need to rethink their organic brands if they want to appeal to the next generation.Read more
Are plant-based alternatives healthier than meat?
23 Sep 2019
Diets high in red and processed meat have been linked to a range of health problems, leading many consumers to choose more plant-based alternatives. But are fake meat products like burgers, sausages and nuggets really a healthier option?Read more
Turning the spotlight on titanium dioxide
2 Sep 2019
Titanium dioxide has been the main white pigment used in the food industry for years, but consumer groups and regulators have raised questions about its acceptability. What options are available for manufacturers?Read more
The maturing trend for fermented foods
2 Sep 2019
Fermented foods most commonly appear in the dairy aisle in Europe, but with rising demand for plant-based foods, other areas may be ripe for long term growth.Read more
Industry innovates with new high protein ingredients
26 Aug 2019
Consumer interest in high protein foods and drinks continues to grow, and a few enterprising companies have responded to the trend by manipulating protein-rich ingredients to make them even higher in protein.Read more
What does the science say about CBD?
26 Aug 2019
Research into the effects of CBD oil has been hampered by strict regulation, but a growing number of consumers swear by its efficacy for a wide range of issues including relief from pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.Read more
A matter of taste: Using AI to speed product development
19 Aug 2019
What if artificial intelligence could specify flavour preference in any given market? Several companies are using big data to do just that, and the trend is gaining ground.Read more
Exclusive: Fi Europe and Hi Europe enter a new chapter together
7 May 2019
Fi Europe, the leading trade show for food and beverage ingredients, and Hi Europe, its counterpart for health ingredients, will become co-located events, alternating between Germany and France.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation