ALTERNATIVE GRAINS AND PROCESSING TECHNOLOGIES

There has been growing global interest in alternative grains such as teff, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, kamut and millet due to the rising awareness about the health concerns and sustainable production. With the increasing popularity and benefits of these grains, the demand for ancient grains and whole grains in the global market is forecasted to increase in the coming years.

The overwhelming majority of global staple foods are grains. Wheat, corn, and rice together make up 51% of the world’s caloric intake. Wheat is a main crop with global importance for food safety and one of the major cereal source of nutrients for both humans and animals. However, there is a rise in concern among consumers about the relationship between the consumption of products made of modern wheat and health issues like obesity, food intolerances, diabetes, and allergies. As consumers have been more conscious about their wellbeing and sustainable production, the demand for the alternative grains such as teff, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, fonio, spelt, kamut, millet and sorghum has been increased.

Increased consumption of ancient grains and whole grains is recommended across the world due to their association with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. High in protein and fiber and free of fat, sugar, sodium, and gluten, these grains make additions to recipes in place of refined grains. Given the growing consumer awareness, the demand for these grains is expected to gain momentum in the near future. According to Whole Grains Council, ancient grains may have an increasingly important role to play in the next several decades as climate change transforms aspects of our agricultural system. “From their nutritional benefits, and their robust and appealing flavors, to their role as hearty, low-input crops, ancient grains have a lot to offer our fields and plates. We look forward to watching the role they play in both health and sustainability in the coming years,” says Caroline Sluyter, the Program Director of the Oldways Whole Grains Council.

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