Quinoa has gained popularity across the world in the recent years as it is considered as a superfood and pseudo-cereal. People concerned about their health, have been reducing their grain consumption and superfoods like Quinoa, Amaranth are gaining importance as pseudo grains or as healthier grain options compared to Wheat or Maize.
Quinoa is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and gluten free. The demand for gluten-free, organic grains has increased over the last few years as people shift to healthy eating. Quinoa has a strong protein profile, making it desirable for people looking for high amount of protein without consuming much of carbohydrates.
Forbes magazine has termed Quinoa as the supergrain of the future. Due to its strong nutritional profile and health benefits, many companies have started offering snacks using quinoa flour.
Across the United States and Europe, Quinoa has gained importance. Even in far markets like India, we have noticed some local farming communities trying their luck with growing quinoa.
The widespread exchange of information on internet and social media about healthy eating has led to much higher demand for some very interesting food items.
Quinoa has had an interesting journey from the farmlands of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil to health magazines, healthy food stores, healthy snacks and superfood blogs. But, the widespread popularity of quinoa isn’t just about marketing by healthy food eating community, Quinoa has a positive impact on health as well.
Production data for Quinoa
Peru leads in production of quinoa worldwide with nearly half of world’s quinoa production coming from Peru. The production of Quinoa from Peru increased from 32,590 in year 2005 to 114,725 tonnes in year 2014.
Nearly 40 percent of Quinoa in Peru grows on small family farms with average farm size less than 5 hectares.
Quinoa grows in the high altitudes of the Andes mountains. Light frosts do not affect the growth of the plant except for when it is flowering.
As Peruvian farmers started using farming equipment, they have started working on plains to grow quinoa, the land that could have been used for other crops. Media reports suggest that poor people in Bolivia and Peru can’t afford their own staple food crop due to its rising price.
Bolivia is the second largest producer with annual production of 90 thousand metric tons in 2018.
As per the data available for 2018, Ecuador produced 4 thousand metric tons of quinoa.
As the price of Quinoa has jumped in the last few years, farmers in Peru and Bolivia sells quinoa and buy other cheaper grains.
Quinoa Price fluctuation with popularity
Quinoa prices have increased by nearly 5 times between year 2004 and 2014. An increase of 500% in price of quinoa in just one decade meant that Peruvian and Bolivian farmers started production on a higher level. In 2013, United Nations declared the year to be the International Year of Quinoa.
Production of quinoa and other crops in Latin America is labor intensive as a lot of tasks are done by hand. And, the availability of low-wage labor has resulted in farmers still practicing the old way of production. However, things are changing in Peru, Bolivia and Equador.
However, the prices started falling after year 2014. Farmers in some communities in the United States, Canada and Argentina have also started growing quinoa due to its high price and strong yield.
The quality of Peruvian quinoa is still better compared to that grown in Canada or the United States.
Consumers are ready to pay higher price for organic quinoa grown in Peru and Bolivia.
Nutritional Facts About Quinoa
Quinoa is packed with protein, fiber and various vitamins and minerals and it is a pseudo-cereal as it is a seed. Quinoa is gluten-free. Quinoa is an excellent source of iron, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6.
There are nearly 1,800 different types of quinoa. However, the main colors that are popular include black, red, white, purple, pink, yellow, orange and yellow.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is called the “mother of all grains”. It was a main ingredient for the Inca Empire. Quinoa has high fiber content and if you love the taste of boiled quinoa, you can easily increase fiber content in your diet.
Quinoa is considered as a complete protein diet as it offers all nine essential amino acids.
Quinoa also has low glycemic index which means that it won’t raise blood sugar immediately after consumption.
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