Tag Archives: quinoa

The future of the (Andean) quinoa market

By Warren Beaumont

Held at BioFach 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany was a seminar and discussion on the future of the (Andean) quinoa market, convened by the Netherlands CBI – Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries – led by Eva Smulder of CBI.

About 50 people from around the world, including processors, traders, and consultants involved in the quinoa sector attended, including representatives from CABOLQUI, Coronilla, Factoria Quinoa, Sierra Exportadora, Euro-Nat, ProFound, Helden Snacks, and CBI staff.

The seminar looked at issues and scenarios highlighting current trends affecting quinoa, bottlenecks and possible scenarios for its future market development.

With quinoa demand growing, with Bolivia and Peru as main exporters and with contradictions in the value chain, the question is what will the quinoa sector be like in the next 10 years.

From the seminar that was part of a study the CBI made recommendations (see Recommendations for Andean quinoa producers and links to the full study).

Four key trends were first discussed:

* Increasing quinoa consumption in foreign markets, a 70% increase in EU imports in 2013 and 50% increase in imports in the USA, with more people in the South American middle class also consuming now quinoa.

* Increasing production in the “Altiplano”, the highland plains of Bolivia and Peru, where producers, cooperatives and companies are working hard to increase production in a difficult climate, changing traditional ways of farming, such as the use of more tractors and harvesting machines to produce more quinoa affecting a fragile eco-system. Production outside the Altiplano at lower latitudes and flat lands has also increased.

* New product development based on quinoa, research results in new varieties and production models: Many varieties of quinoa that can be grown in different climates, including Canada and Australia and more production such as in France. The market has seen many new value added products such as syrup, flour, snacks, plus products with quinoa as ingredient such as soups, burgers, smoothies and baby food.

* Increasing quinoa prices, a sensitive subject for traders in the Andes and elsewhere, while for the first time the farmers are getting a larger proportion of the export prices. Import price of Bolivian quinoa per tonne, at 2012-13 prices jumped from $3190 to $7000 per tonne in 2014.

Recommendations for Andean quinoa producers

 The extensive CBI – Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries – study of the Andean quinoa sector reveals that the market potential of quinoa is huge and that stakeholders in the sector will have to join forces.

 Spectacular growth

According to the new CBI study, spiralling demand for functional and healthy foods in western markets has fuelled the spectacular growth of quinoa imports. However, this increased demand will challenge the Bolivian and Peruvian quinoa sector because production will have to increase substantially to meet it. This, in turn, could lead to land conflicts and soil degradation.

Four scenarios

In the study, based on desk research and focus group meetings, CBI has developed four possible scenarios for the Andean quinoa sector during the next 10 years: (1) a fivefold increase in quinoa consumption; (2) the collapse of the market for quinoa from the Andean region; (3) a fiftyfold increase in the demand and production of quinoa; (4) thanks to its potential and nutritional value, food processing companies will find many new applications for quinoa.

Huge potential

Clearly, the market potential of quinoa is attractive and its future growth is beyond doubt. The only question is how fast the market will grow and how big it will become. It won’t become as big as rice, wheat or other staple foods, but in the long run quinoa’s position could compare with that of speciality rice, such as basmati or couscous.

Increase production

The rate at which the quinoa market will grow depends largely on whether production will keep up with demand. In the traditional Altiplano region it will not, and the pressure to step up production could increase the likelihood of a collapse. Regions like the Bolivian valleys and lowlands and the Peruvian coastal region are more suited to large-scale quinoa production so they could produce larger quantities of conventional quinoa for mainstream markets.

Recommendations

The CBI study will help farmers, importers, exporters, support organisations and policy-makers in the quinoa sector develop a strong and sustainable value chain. Its main recommendation is that to avoid losing their current unique position Andean stakeholders must join forces. Producers there will also have to distinguish themselves with “super quinoa”, which is an attractive proposition for traditional producers. Coordination and collective action is essential for sustainable production in the long term, good industry and chain relationships, and a stable market share for Andean “super grain”.

The CBI study can be read online on the CBI Market Intelligence Platform, or downloaded in PDF format. If you want to know more about the focus group meetings, please have a look at the video registration of one of the events.

Or look up: http://news.cbi.eu/recommendations-for-andean-quinoa-producers/

 The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) was established in the Netherlands by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. CBI’s mission is to contribute to sustainable economic development in developing countries through the expansion of exports from these countries.

 

 

 

Quinoa key players confident of Andean supply

By Adriana Michael

More investment in technology and machinery neededIMG_1045The United Nations declared 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa” in recognition of the indigenous communities from the Andean highlands, who have domesticized this unique crop with its high nutrient content. But the global quinoa craze started in recent years has led to an imbalance between supply and demand, and has seen other countries planting the Andean grain ‘superfood’ to secure future supply.

Quinoa has been seen in 82% of new food product launches featuring Ancient Grains in the U.S. in the last 12 months. It is being included in products ranging from snack bars and breakfast cereals to bread and baby foods. UK high-street health food retailer Holland & Barrett reported a 44% increase in sales this year compared to 2012.

Rising demand for the golden grain has led to skyrocketing prices, higher farming costs, shortages of suitable land and climate change, factors seen as threats to farmers. Paola Mejia, general manager of the Bolivian Chamber of Royal Quinoa and Organic Products Exporters – CABOLQUI told Organic & Wellness News that the 2013 International Year of Quinoa has been a great opportunity for Bolivia to expand awareness about the nutritional benefits of the versatile grain and to position the country as the leading and only producer of Royal Quinoa. This variety grows in the Uyuni salt flats, in a hostile terrain for farming other crops at 3,600 mt above sea level in the Oruro and Potosi departments.

“Bolivia differentiate the RoyalQuinoa from other varieties and grains Brown elsewhere, said Ms. Mejia. The challenge now is to satisfy the huge demand for quinoa around the world. “We are looking for strategic partners that will allow us to accelerate the development of technology to increase production of organic Royal quinoa to at least 2 million ha.” The quinoa sector was not prepared for the higher demand from established and new buyers this year. This situation has created a volatile market with prices going through the roof. “ We are worried because the price fluctuations and uncertainty has created tensions with established clients and suppliers and price speculation. Big players with deep pockets have entered the market, and approach the farmers directly in the fields in an attempt to monopolize the grain, but we hope prices will stabilize with the new crop”, said Ms. Mejia.

International buyers like Miguel Angel Montesinos of La Finestra sul Cielo Espana, owner of the Brazilian Quinua Real® brand also expect prices to be more manageable in mid-2014. “ We have secured continuous provision at least for 2014”, said Mr Montesinos, who has committed to buy and promote Royal quinoa only from ANAPQUI, the largest cooperative of organic quinoa producers in Bolivia.

Bolivia’s quinoa exports, the majority which are destined for the U.S., grew 26% between 2011 and 2012, a trade worth $800mill. According to the Bolivian National Institute of Statistics (INE) quinoa exports from grew 86,02% during the first six months of 2013 reaching USD 56,91million compared to USD 30,59 million in June 2012. FOB prices per mt for white grain went from USD 3,800 at the beginning of the year to USD 4,800 in June and will reach over USD 8,000 by the end of December.

Motivated by the quinoa boom, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia and countries outside the Andean region such as the USA, Canada, Denmark, France and even China, India and Australia are testing quinoa varieties under different farming conditions. “Many countries will go for intensive farming, but the qualities of the Royal Quinoa from Bolivia will be hard to replicate elsewhere. Bolivia plans a fivefold production increase in the next five years,” said Ms. Mejia. “Those with access to state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure may take at least the same time to get a reasonable grain and attractive high yields.”

Since the native Bolivian Royal quinoa grows where other crops do not, this has been a natural barrier that helps Bolivian suppliers to guarantee a grain of pure varieties, not hybrids- that is mainly organic certified and free of gluten and prolamins, a group of proteins found in rice, rye and wheat that are believed to induce celiac disease in genetically predisposed individuals.

It is the only vegetal food containing the essential aminoacids and, compared to other cereals, it has a higher level of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, but with a low caloric input. This makes it a convenient food for people taking special care of their diet. Contrary to some media reports, which have suggested that the people of Bolivia are now deprived of the golden grain due to high prices, the quinoa boom has made a positive impact on thousands of quinoa farmers, who used to be considered among the poorest rural communities.

“For the first time in history, quinoa farmers are in control of their crop and prices”, says Pablo Laguna an anthropologist who has studied the impact of the Golden grain in local communities. “Currently, 80 percent of the price goes to the farmers, a situation never experienced before”. Mr. Laguna said that now quinoa farming familias may take home 5 to 20 thousand US dollars after harvest. Today quinoa farming has moved from subsistence agriculture to an attractive business that generates additional income, and complements economic activities such as transportation, trade or teaching. Many farmer families live in the city and only travel to a second home around the quinoa fields for planting and harvesting. “They eat less quinoa not because they can not afford it, but because now they have more disposable income to buy other foods they could not buy before the boom”, said Mr. Laguna. Unfortunately, as in other parts of the world, consumers, especially those not well informed, prefer cheap and highly processed foods over nutritious options that may cost more and need extra preparation. “Producers already established in the market have seen the maximum gains with the boom”, said Linett Salinas, logistics and export manager at Bolivian quinoa processor Andean Valley. “They can afford trucks and warehouses and a better infrastructure that allows them to buy directly from the smaller farmers and sell at the Challapata market or directly in the city”.

Sergio Nunez de Arco, co-founder and quinoa specialist at major U.S. supplier Andean Naturals, has been recognized as one of Time’s 13 “Gods of Food” – people who “have their own roles in working the magical thinking and eating that reaches our dinner tables”. Sergio describes the role of Andean Naturals in building bridges between quinoa farmers in Bolivia and consumers in the United States in the
article ‘Working for a Fair Reward,’ published in Time magazine.

Quinoa is becoming an increasingly commoditized product, threatening the existence of traditional growers, he warned. Consumers will have to choose: “Do they want a commodity, or do they want a product that is not just good for them but also for the environment and the hardworking farmer who grows it?” Bolivia’s main market is the USA and Canada with 48%, Europe with 28%. The rest is shared mainly between Latin America, Australia and Israel”. CABOLQUI will be present at BioFach, Germany and expects to increase its presence at shows in Asia next year. “In Bolivia we plan to grow the organic segment”, said Ms. Mejia. “While other countries will offer mainly conventional quinoa, Bolivia is still ahead of the pack with the premium organic Royal quinoa.”

Machu Picchu Foods introduces Quinoa Krunch

By O.W.N. News Network

Machu Picchu Foods, Peru’s main chocolate and confectionary producer and leading exporter of organic chocolate, is introducing Quinoa Krunch, an organic wafer stick with quinoa and rice, covered with chocolate and popped amaranth.

This delicious snack adds to Machu Picchu’s innovative portfolio of organic chocolate with Andean grain, including Quinoa Mix, quinoa cereal and fruit with natural organic colours and flavours, and Quinoachoc, an instant chocolate mix enriched with quinoa, a hot or cold healthy drink that is sure to delight the young and old at breakfast or any time of day.

The quinoa and amaranth provide the Quinoa Krunch snack with essential amino acids that are vital for growth and brain development.

Free of preservatives and artificial flavours and fillers, Quinoa Krunch and all innovative organic snacks developed by Machu Picchu Foods are available under private label to customers around the world.

The company has a new chocolate plant that is free of the top eight allergens, is committed to the principles of social and environmental responsibility, and enjoys Fair Trade, organic EU/ NOP/JAS, Kosher and Halal certifications.

Quinoa Krunch will be launched this fall at Expoalimentaria in Lima, along with the full line of confectionary innovations at BioFach in Nuremberg and Gulfood in Dubai.

WAWA: Quinoa gains momentum in the baby food market

By Adriana Michael

When Sienna, daughter of entrepreneur Viviana Soruco turned 11 months and was introduced to more solid foods, she experienced severe gastroenteritis and asthma. In spite of consulting several specialists and taking all prescribed medications her condition only got worse. Desperate to find a solution for her daughter’s medical problems, Viviana embarked with a group of nutritionists, food engineers and mothers in similar circumstances, in a long and meticulous journey to learn about foods and how they affect our health. 

Today, the civil engineer turned food expert is the CEO of Mankeri, manufacturer of high quality organic certified, gluten-free and hypoallergenic baby foods under the brand WAWA. Foods are made with exclusive formulations that include quinoa and other highly nutritious ancient Andean grains and a carefully selected combination of vegetables and fruits to achieve a balanced diet when gradually introduced to young digestive systems.

“In my research I found out that quinoa and amaranth are the closest foods to breast milk. They contribute to the adequate development of the baby’s immune and neurological systems,” says Viviana.

In just four days after Viviana cut off milk and all other foods from her daughter’s diet, except the home made quinoa milk she prepared, the constant diarrhoea immediately stopped.  It took a while, but her daughter fully recovered eating food only based on Viviana’s recipes.

With support of a pediatrician, Viviana and her team continued developing a concept to properly introduce new foods to babies and toddlers, avoiding foods known as allergens. “Mankeri was born from the support group I started to share with other mothers the results of our research. We knew thousands of parents in Bolivia, Germany and other countries (Viviana and her husband spend time between Bolivia and Germany) would be going through the same situation we did with our daughter.”

Opening a baby food processing plant in La Paz to make the carefully selected baby food formulations available to more people was a goal.  Mankeri imported state-of-the-art equipment and soon started a small production runs, testing the line in the local market. Winning a national competition for entrepreneurship and obtaining second place at an international entrepreneurship award sponsored by the BiD Network in the Netherlands generated media exposure and high consumer interest. 

Mankeri’s baby nutrition concept is based on four main pillars: First, foods with high protein content provided by organic certified quinoa and amaranth, a superior vegetable protein and the closest to mother’s milk, ingredients usually not present in other baby food brand in the market;  introduction of hypoallergenic fruits and vegetables; gluten-free products and free from additives, fillers and other substances; and the use of whole foods only.

“Since we avoid all known allergens in our formulations, the risks to develop gastric and immune disorders are drastically reduced,” said Viviana. “Our products provide proteins, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates, a complete meal.

“A combination of our four current products offers up to 70% of any baby’s nutritional requirements from 6 to 24 months.  And like baby Sienna they are ideal for babies suffering from celiac disease, allergies and other food intolerances, autism and malnourishment and in need of a balanced diet with whole, natural and organic certified ingredients.

“For parents finding the right time to introduce solid food to a baby is very important. If they start too early, the baby’s digestive and immune systems are not ready and it may trigger the risk of allergies, and other health problems. If parents wait too long after six months, the baby will miss out on additional nutrients needed for proper growth and development. It is also important for a baby to explore and accept gradually new tastes and textures. My goal is to share this nutrition concept with all children in Bolivia and other parts of the world.” 

Currently, Mankeri offers two main product lines under the WAWA brand: fruit preserves and vegetable purées with quinoa and amaranth, presented in convenient 125g containers imported from Europe and specially designed for baby foods to guarantee protection from ultraviolet rays and oxygen.

WAWA is sold in Bolivia directly by Mankeri. Bolivian firm Andean Valley has added WAWA into its product range of gluten-free quinoa products for the whole family, that include pizza dough, pastas, vegetarian burgers, flan and pudding. Andean Valley is operating in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and now Peru. Mankeri welcomes international distributors and other private label agreements for WAWA baby foods in North America and other parts of the world.

Cabolqui celebrates International Year of Bolivian Royal Quinoa

By Adriana Michael

The  United  Nations has declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa” and  its  official launch  took place on February 20th at its headquarters in New York City.  Several events will be organized around the world in an attempt to increase public awareness of  the   value  of this ancient South American super food from the Andean highlands. As part of the celebration Cabolqui, Bolivia’s Chamber of Royal Quinoa and Organic Products Exporters, prepared an ambitious 4-day agenda where recognized international quinoa traders, processors, researchers, aid agencies,  government officials and the media learned about and  discussed current  and future strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats concerning the Bolivian Royal quinoa sector. The program included a business match for quinoa and other Bolivian organic products, a gastronomic festival during the opening ceremony, technical and  field visits to  the  main production   zones  such   as the magnificent Uyuni Salt Flats, dynamic presentations in a pleasant and proactive atmosphere for friendship and networking opportunities. Visitors from several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark Germany, Japan, Peru and the United States came to La Paz March 23-26 to take part in this memorable event.

Quinoa is the only plant food with all essential amino acids, vitamins and trace elements and is resistant to extreme growing conditions: poor soils, the presence of drought and high  salinity, a  temperature range  of  -8  to  38  degrees Celsius and an altitude from sea  level to  four  thousand meters. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this  “super food,” harvested since  Pre-Colombian  times for  its nutritional value and adaptability, may  contribute to  world food  security and the   eradication  of  hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

“Never before, in the history of quinoa in Bolivia and abroad, was there  a  gathering with the sector’s most well known actors that have dedicated their work, life, efforts and resources to   this   amazing  Bolivian and Andean food that is the Royal Bolivian Quinoa”, said Javier Fernandez, president of Cabolqui and ceo of Andean Valley, a  chamber member. “It is a matter of pride for Bolivia to share with the world a food with high nutritional value. It  is allergen-free  and enjoys adaptation capabilities to adverse growing conditions, is  produced  following strict organic farming practices and has the potential to reduce the level s  of  undernourishment and hunger in the world”. Today, quinoa is cultivated in other Andean and non Andean countries.   “The   challenge for Bolivia is to  remain the main producer, consumer and exporter of authentic Royal Quinoa in the world”, said Mr. Fernandez. “We need investment in technologies and improved farming practices that  will allow a  sustainable production of quinoa, increasing volumes to control prices and  protect our  seeds from genetic manipulation and the use of hybrid seeds which is what is happening in other parts of the world”.

“Our ancestors left us a legacy in quinoa. They mastered good farming practices that we cannot forget”, said Mr. Víctor Hugo  Vásquez Mamani, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Until  thirty years ago the only quinoa consumers were the native Andean people. Today quinoa is served at the King of Spain’s table, at the White House and the best restaurants around the world. We should be proud of this accomplishment”. Contrary to some recent comments in the media that  suggest the West is  robbing the  quinoa  from the  children in  Bolivia, Mr. Vasquez Mamani  said  that 3-4 years ago local quinoa consumption was 0.35 Kg per capita. Last year Bolivians increased quinoa consumption to 1.1 Kg per capita. “Three years ago Bolivia exported 8 thousand  tonnes  of  quinoa; 26 thousand tonnes last year”. Bolivia expects to  increase sustainable production of quinoa to one thousand tonnes by 2025.

Sustainable practices give Primeal an edge

By Warren Beaumont

The Ancient Grain and gluten-free trend shows no signs of slowing down in natural and organic retail markets worldwide as consumers increasingly choose ancient super foods like chia, amaranth, cañihua and quinoa for their health and nutritional benefits. Quinoa demand has been very strong helped by its high protein, calcium and magnesium content and gluten-free status. It has also been leading new product development over the last few years.

So it was no surprise in the International Year of Quinoa to see that quinoa products were among the most prominent at the BioFach show held in Germany in February. And Olivier Perreol of pioneering French quinoa supplier Euro Nat says demand for its Primeal brand is still growing, even though products are more expensive. But he points out that Euro Nat ensures there are benefits to quinoa growers and the farming communities who produce Primeal quinoa on   the   Bolivian Altiplano by helping employment and improving sustainability.

“Our quinoa is exclusively organic and fair trade certified with farmers getting a premium and benefit, while we also address the environmental issues”, Mr. Perreol says. “Crop rotation and other practices are checked by ECOCERT organic farming certification and its insurance against production of the quinoa crops on the same fields is not allowed for three years.”

Euro Nat ensures the traceability and authenticity of the product and bio-equitable process from Bolivia to France, where Euro Nat is a member of the Bio Equitable organic and fair trade association.

Demand   and   exports  are growing for the Primeal brand of quinoa, which is packaged and presented in many different forms such as flakes, puffed grains, flour, cream, soup, pasta, snack foods and others. New products include the Quico, a mix of quinoa, red lentils and carrots; and Quinori, a mix of red and white quinoa, whole rice, chick peas and sesame to join the Duo de Quinoa, red and white grains, and Quinoa- Trio, a combination of three white, red and black quinoa grains, all in 500gm attractive packs.

“Quinoa export sales are up 25% in France and Europe and interest is growing in North America and globally,” Mr.  Perreol says. “EuroNat was the   first company to set up in Bolivia, and since 1989, we have been working with Bolivian farmers and communities through a continued commitment to sustainable, fair trade and organic practices.”

A fresh mapping of culinary trends

By Warren Beaumont

Health & Wellness, Authentic Appeal, Artisan Appreciation and Local & Sustainable are the key consumer drivers with the most power to propel culinary trends, according to the recent A Look Backward & Forward Culinary Trend Mapping Report, a joint publication of the San Francisco-based strategic food and beverage innovation agency CCD Innovation and market research publisher Packaged Facts. Today’s food world is a vastly different place than it was just four years ago. We have reshaped our attitudes and behaviors around food. “Due to paradigm as well as demographic shifts, global flavors have become celebrated as part of the norm for America’s diverse consumers,” says Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD Innovation. “Separating out what we used to call ethnic food from mainstream fare is no longer relevant. We are living in a multicultural culinary era.”

Influential food landscape game changers are:

* The proliferation of food and social media

* Increased retail channels for food purchases including farmers markets, drugstores, new foodservice outlets such as food trucks and gas stations

* Consumers increasing expectation to know where their food comes from, what is in it, and having the tech tools to access this information

* The growth of the natural foods channel and embrace of local, seasonal and sustainable fare

A Look Backward & Forward Culinary Trend Mapping Report focuses on trend movement over the last four years, checking back on past trends and tracking their movement across CCD Innovation’s proprietary Trend Map. The report includes the following highlights:

Chia Seeds: Well-informed natural food lovers and wellness subscribers, always on the look-out for the next star ingredient, got excited about the nutritious chia seeds and its ease of use. Add hard-core runners to the mix, lots of humor and great PR, connect with health-seeking women often chatting on blogs and Facebook, and you have a lot of momentum. Check Holy Crap, www.holycrap.com the world’s most amazing breakfast cereal, a firm with a great product and brilliant use of social media and other marketing tools to rapidly gain consumer’s attention and loyalty.

Third Wave Coffee: The growing food movement with its values in artisan production, connoisseur collecting, and sustainable food production is popular among younger coffee drinkers, many excited to try new Third Wave coffee products to be found in the hip cafes where these brews are served. Specialty chocolates make part of this trend that includes innovation and improvement at all stages of production, from better soil and trees to harvesting and processing, to direct and stronger relationship between bean growers, traders and those that create the final consumer product. Pacari Chocolate and its Raw, biodynamic (Demeter) certified and other lines with exotic ingredients such as maca and Andean blueberry reflect this trend.

Quinoa: Consumers are turning to this Andean grain to answer a number of needs–for a superfood packed with vegetarian protein, a way to lose weight, a gluten-free food and ingredient and as a representative of still-exotic Peruvian cuisine, an up-and-comer on the global culinary scene. Quinua Real syrup, the first natural sweetener made of quinoa introduced by La Finestra sul Cielo Espana at BioFach this year, received tremendous attention for the amazing versatility the golden grain offers.

Coconut Water: Increased Asian and Hispanic populations are a force behind coconut water. The growth of the natural foods channel has given this healthy item a home, along with the increase in beverage cases in convenience stores, drug stores and campus foodservice.

Farm-Raised Seafood: Local & sustainable issues around seafood have pushed Farm-Raised Seafood to the top of the Trend Map. In QSRs and mainstream grocery stores, most of the fish is farmed because wild stocks have been decimated.

Other trends include ice cream as a functional food and Greek Yogurt, which has benefited from the power of several drivers, first and foremost Wholesome Nutrition, under the broader Health & Wellness category. Interest in Digestive Health, also under this umbrella, increased sales of probiotic-rich yogurt and across the board while simultaneously influencing the rise of Gluten-Free foods.

These key products along with sprouted and fermented foods in all sorts of shapes and textures were spotted by your O.W.N. team at the fairs this season including BioFach in Nuremberg, Expo West in Anaheim and CHFA in Vancouver.

2013: International Year of Quinoa

By Andrew Ofstehage

The United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organization have announced 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, as proposed by the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The objectives for the celebration are symbolic of the newfound global appreciation for the pseudo-cereal and a call for action. Only recently has quinoa emerged from its former status as a neglected foodstuff outside of key production areas. This announcement observes the seed’s new-found prominence by holding a series of symposia and forums on recent agronomic and social research conducted with farmers on agro-ecological farming practices, Andean and global markets, nutrition, and cultural values of quinoa. Parallel projects include photography and art exhibitions and the elaboration of quinoa cookbooks, tailored to a range of international cooking traditions.

With global support, the traditions and biodiversity of quinoa in the Andean region can be utilized as a potential tool in poverty eradication in the Andes and in reducing malnutrition through distribution via the World Food Program. Besides boosting food security programs and economic livelihoods in Peru and Bolivia, amongst other producing countries, the program has spurred cooperative efforts among Andean countries to conduct farmer and processer exchanges. Trough the various projects and collaborations that emerge from the International Year of Quinoa, it is hoped that the promotion of quinoa production, trade, and consumption can be cultivated for the mutual benefit of quinoa farmers in the Andes and for the achievement, or at least partial achievement, of the Millennium Development Goals.

Denomination of origin: marketing tool for quinoa

By: Andrew Ofstehage

To find what makes the Challapata market in Bolivia famous, one must first pass vendors with massive green bags of dried coca leaf, dozens of varieties of carrots and potatoes, and heaps of used clothing shipped in from the United States. Now just ahead, past market restaurants, electronics, and freshly cut sheep skins, one finally arrives at what this small Altiplano market is known for: quinoa. Surrounded by trucks that have brought quinoa from the countryside and sheds for storage and processing, small transactions between individual farmers and middleman take place over hundreds of bags of quinoa. The variety is astounding, white, red, and the rare black quinoa are separated and divided further into first-class, second-class, third-class, and so on, as well as organic or conventional. However much this diversity speaks to the wealth of diverse quinoa varieties and of quinoa production in the Altiplano, this scene also recalls the commoditisation process that has occurred in most other agricultural markets. It is the process by which quinoa produced on a certain hillside or according to a certain set of labor practices becomes simply first-class, white quinoa.

And yet, in the small town of San Agustin, located in the Potosi Department of Bolivia, a group of quinoa farmers and activists are working to create a denomination of origin label which would reclaim their distinctive quinoa as something other than a commodity. The labeling initiative, Quinua de Lipez, is spearheaded by the Mancomunidad de Lipez, a non-governmental organization. Like French Champagne, the qualities that separate Quinua de Lipez are related to both agricultural practices and to distinctive environmental properties that together produce a unique and valuable pseudo-cereal. Agricultural practices in San Agustin rely on greater use of manual labor in planting, harvesting, and cleaning of quinoa. Proponents of the label state that this labor deserves recognition not only in order to remunerate the greater amount of work, but also to acknowledge the reproduction of traditional farming methods. By sowing seed by hand, harvesting with scythes, and cleaning by the winnowing method, farmers place a lesser impact on the fragile Altiplano agro-ecosystem and cater to the demands of the Northern consumer who, as perceived by Andean farmers, seeks out ecologically and traditionally produced foods. Also unique to the region is an agro- ecosystem which allows these practices to thrive. Generally hilly topography disincentives tractor use, high altitude fields reduce pest and disease pressure by nature of the colder average temperatures and a relative aridity of the soils incentivizes longer fallow periods, which serve to preserve soils and reduce pest pressures.

Returning to the vibrant Challapata market, we can see how poorly the grading system accounts for differences in farming practices and environmental factors. More than a price differential, what the farmers are seeking is simply the preservation of the local identity of their quinoa. Noting that both farmer cooperatives and independent middlemen tend to mix quinoa without distinction for farming practices or terroir, farmers seek a third way by which to engage with the world market, but at the same time hold on to what famous anthropologist Marcel Mauss would call the “soul” of the quinoa. Despite changing hands from Lipeño farmer to Northern consumer, the farmer can maintain a claim on the quinoa through his labor and through his knowledge.

This lesson is especially pertinent as quinoa production has begun to expand into regions of the United States, France, and Australia, amongst others. The ability of Lipeño farmers to reclaim their distinctiveness through denomination of origin labeling provides an example of how quinoa farmers in other regions of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile can engage with world markets without losing the soul of their quinoa. Andrew Ofstehage is a Phd Student, Anthropology Department University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who conducted four months of ethnographic research in the Southern Altiplano for his Masters degree at Wageningen University.

Quinua Real launches first organic quinoa syrup

By Warren Beaumont

Quinua Real is entering the next chapter of its growth and development from a Brazilian organic pioneer to a global supplier of quinoa Andean food products with the launch of Quinua Real® syrup, the first organic certified syrup from quinoa into the market, an innovation in the natural sweeteners category.

Assisting to drive this growth and development is leading Spanish organic distributor La Finestra sul Cielo España, a sister company of Italian organic pioneer La Finestra sul Cielo, which became a 90% shareholder of Quinua Real Brasil Ltda. in 2011, a well-known firm for its organic foods and beverages, such as the BeVida cereal beverages range. Quinua Real® syrup will be introduced at BioFach 2013 in Nuremberg. “The path we have followed in our research process and our product development has been long, but we are very proud and happy regarding the final results and do believe it will be a great success,” says Miguel Angel Montesinos, CEO of La Finestra Sul Cielo Espana.
Based on the first production batch that the company has recently produced, it needed 600 kg. of Quinua Real® flour to get approximately 400 litres of syrup. In terms of density, nutritional value, glycemic index and price points compared to other natural sweeteners, Quinua Real® syrup has a darker colour, a higher protein value (7’94 gr. per 100 gr.) and a lower caloric level, said Mr. Montesinos. “Quinua Real® syrup is organic certified, but also gluten-free and its final taste of vanilla, is noticeable, which makes this product great for desserts and pastries,” he says.“After eight months working together with an Italian organic foods company, we have managed to elaborate this unique product, based 51% on organic Bolivian Royal quinoa. The process has not been easy, but the final result is really spectacular.”

“It is also the ideal product to replace sugar and it combines perfectly with many beverages and foods. And it is presented in a handy packaging. The price could seem a little bit higher than the price you can find in the market for other sweeteners, but we have to consider the high price we are paying for the raw material and production.”

The company has been quite open about its sourcing of quinoa exclusively from Anapqui , Bolivia’s national cooperative of quinoa producers Mr. Montesinos says Quinua Real® has been closely working with Anapqui for more than ten years in order to promote quinoa in Brazil directly sourced from the largest small quinoa farmer cooperative in the Andean country.

“Two years ago we knew we had to add the development of Quinua Real® in Europe to this project, so that we could fasten our commercial relationship,” he says. “We are aware of the importance of working all together with a strong cooperative as Anapqui is, and that’s the reason why Quinua Real® is backing products with our own R&D, such as this Quinua Real® syrup.

“The brand Quinua Real® is registered all over Europe but also in other important commercial areas as the South-East of Asia, because Mr. Montesinos and his team are also present there. “We are sure the introduction of Quinua Real® syrup and the other products of the Quinua Real® line: red Quinua Real®, black Quinua Real®) is going to consolidate the brand Quinua Real® in order to become an international key-point.”

La Finestra sul Cielo España S.L. was the very first company to arrive in the Brazilian market offering all natural and organic vegetal drinks and from the very beginning saw the business opportunities it could achieve in that market, and how this fact could help in the development of its brand, Mr Montesinos says. Quinua Real currently has more than 1,500 registered customers in Brazil, and is working with a range of products with more than 20 items certified as BioBrazil: vegetal drinks, gluten-free pasta and other products made from Quinua Real®.

The company’s decision to produce the new organic syrup and to continue development of other new Quinua Real products was based on the excellent nutritional value of quinoa. “It was the main and first nourishment of the Inca nation. Moreover, N.A.S.A. considers quinoa a suitable food for the astronauts during their long-term trips in space,” Mr. Montesinos explains.

“The Royal Quinoa seed variety is native of Bolivia, at 3,600 metres over the sea level. It is the only vegetal food containing the essential amino acids and, compared to other cereals, it has a higher level of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, but with a low caloric input. This makes it a convenient food for people taking care of their diet. Besides its high nutritional value, the Quinua Real® brand only buys directly from Anapqui, cooperative that only farms under organic and fair trade methods. Quinua Real® is gluten-free certified and vegan suitable. Quinua Real® will be co-exhibitor with partner firm La Finestra sul Cielo at BioFach 2013 in Nuremberg February 13-16, stand number 702, hall 1.