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Trends driving consumer interest in better-for-you grains

Ancient grains such as chia, quinoa and amaranth are surging in multiple geographies across a variety of applications.

Trends are cyclical. And although it took a couple thousand years for ancient grains to return, they’re back with a bang. Not only are they making appearances in traditional applications such as breads and cereals, they’re popping up in categories across the food industry from beverages to baby food and beyond. According to a new report from Research and Markets, the Americas (U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Rest of Americas) is one of the largest markets for ancient grains, driving explosive sales of ingredients like chia (35.4% compound annual growth rate [CAGR] between 2017 and 2023), quinoa (33.1% CAGR) and amaranth (23.5% CAGR).

Food & Beverage Insider spoke to Dustin Finkle, founder, Ka-Pop! Snacks, about the category’s top drivers, ingredients and opportunities.

Food & Beverage Insider: What's driving consumer interest in better-for-you grains?

Finkle: There are a few trends that drive interest, including sustainable sourcing and adding varied and complex carbohydrates to your diet. Grain-free is undoubtedly a big trend, as is the continued focus on whole complex grains and knowing the source of the food we eat. Consumers are looking for environmentally beneficial foods, as more of an emotional benefit. The desire for claims like this—which are 100% inherent to ancient grains—is rising.

Another driving trend is diversifying sources of carbohydrates, from corn and wheat to less common grains (as well as legumes and tubers) that offer greater nutritional value and help improve soil health. Progressive consumers see restoring a sense of connectedness through food and seed as a path to improve human health and agricultural biodiversity.

To read this article in its entirety, check out the Grains redefined: Formulating for healthy products – digital magazine.

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