Quinoa, the food trends superstar, is seen on just about every menu these days. But a recent study suggests some quinoa fatigue has begun to settle in, leaving room for other ingredients to find a place in consumers’ shopping carts.
In “Food Formulation Trends: Ancient Grains and Sprouted Ingredients,” a study by market analyst Packaged Facts, researchers reveal quinoa isn’t as far ahead of the pack among other ancient grains as once thought. Survey results indicate the same percentage of US consumers age 18 to 39 who bought quinoa also purchased buckwheat (15 percent). Other popular ancient grains purchased by this group were chia (13 percent), emmer (11 percent), barley (11 percent) and teff (9 percent).
According to Packaged Facts, the sustained appeal of quinoa, and ancient grains generally, can be attributed in part to the growing number of products containing these ingredients that are also labeled as being GMO or gluten free. “Their ability to add visual, flavor and textural appeal must also not be overlooked. Clearly, the stories behind ancient grains resonate so strongly with consumers and the nutritional and health benefits are so compelling, there is plenty of room for quinoa to share the stage with less widely known ancient grains,” the researchers say.
Consumers favoring ancient grains particularly include Millennials and consumers age 39 and younger. Findings from the report indicate nearly 30 percent of all US adults purchased ancient grains in restaurants, as prepared or packaged foods or beverages, or bulk bin items at food retailers in the past 30 days. However, almost half (46 percent) of those age 18 to 39 purchased them. These younger consumers consistently purchased ancient grains as packaged or bulk products in the past 30 days at much higher rates than consumers age 40 to 49, who had higher purchase rates compared to consumers age 50 and above.