Cereals December 04, 2014

Gluten-free cereals – the quinoa

Cereals December 04, 2014

Gluten-free cereals – the quinoa

Quinoa (quinoa) has been cultivated for over 5,000 years on the stony plateaus of the Andes at 4000 meters above sea level and is an essential food for the Andean peoples.

It belongs to the family of chenopodiacee, such as spinach or beet and is a food particularly rich in nutritional properties: it contains fiber and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc, and is an excellent source of vegetable protein.



Native to the Andes and with 5,000 years of history behind it, quinoa seems to embody the paradigm of food sovereignty and biodiversity. Because it is deeply rooted in the cultures of peoples who for centuries have cultivated and they are fed; because it has great nutritional properties; because it is a hardy plant, with a high morphological variability, and so far has been produced with sustainable practices, environmentally sensitive and fragile ecosystems; because it has always been available on the market, ensuring a fair return to producers. And also because it has an adventure story, which tells how the European conquerors had banished the cultivation and consumption tied to sacred rites, in an attempt to wipe out the food culture of the people who used it, and how it was preserved through the centuries from peasant families, in a sort of peaceful rebellion.

Recent history, however, sees it slowly forgotten with the start of the process of Domestication and industrialization in the twentieth century, until the discovery in decades.

Over the last 20 years, Bolivia (the first manufacturer in the world), the area devoted to the cultivation of quinoa has grown from 10,000 to 50,000 hectares, and the tons of product have increased from 5,000 to 25,000. And this cereal is facing the international market, first shyly and then to trigger a real fashion. Currently, 90% of production is exported, and quinoa is increasingly in demand in the market because of its versatility in the kitchen and its nutritional properties.

But this reputation on the international market began to present problematic issues. First of all, a considerable increase in the price, which the Bolivian market is four times higher than that of rice or other grains, thus making quinoa inaccessible to most of the local population living in poverty.

Manufacturers, for example, live this popularity with a mixture of hope and concern, complaining that the promotion on the international market should be accompanied a similar effort on the local market, where consumption is limited. At the same time, they say they are worried that if the promotional work is not accompanied to support good practice of culture, the environment could suffer unwanted consequences – such as a deepening of the process of desertification – as is already partly happening.

On the other hand, also the consumer of the urban middle classes live this feeling contrasting happy that quinoa has appeared on their tables, but at the same time denouncing its status as a “gourmet food”, the consumption of which is precluded to the less weak.

The sudden notoriety Quinoa, is due to the FAO, in 2013, appointed her cereal year.




Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids necessary for the functioning of our body, presenting overall a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. Its protein content is higher than that of rice, millet and wheat. It ‘also an important source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C and E; it plays an important protective role against circulatory and body tissues.

Quinoa thanks to very high nutritional properties is particularly recommended in children. The absence of gluten makes it a suitable food for celiacs.


And ‘composed of protein, carbohydrates, fat, dietary fiber and is also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, iron, sodium, magnesium and zinc, making it a food rather complete. Also contains two very important amino acids lysine which intervenes in the processes of growth of brain cells and methionine important for the metabolism of insuline.



This year we will be at the SIAL exhibit in Paris from October 19th to 23rd.

Do you want to meet us? We will be at Hall 1 Stand 1E056.

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