Supergrain of the future

Dec. 2, 2004

Quinoa could become tomorrow's rice, according to Culinary Trend Mapping Report, published by market researcher Packaged Facts, New York, in collaboration with the San Francisco-based Center for Culinary Development. Quinoa is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbs than most grains, and since it contains all eight essential amino acids, it is considered a "complete" protein, having more of the nutrient than any other grain.

Beyond its health benefits, chefs love quinoa's versatility, as it cooks in half the time and can substitute for rice in many recipes. Its flavor is slightly nutty to neutral, making it the perfect base for a variety of ingredients. While only 16 percent of surveyed consumers heard of quinoa, nearly all who had eaten it said they'd try it again. "Quinoa nicely fits the bill for today's eating environment," says Don Montuori, acquisitions editor for Packaged Facts. "It satisfies the protein-cravers, offers the benefits of a whole grain and gives the carb-lovers an excuse for openly indulging."

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