Even though quinoa is marketed in Europe on a relatively large scale, there still are plenty of reasons to include Anden crops, of which quinoa is one, in the Food for the Future project. The Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations named 2013 as year of quinoa.
Quinoa has many beneficial properties. It can be planted in different climatic conditions. It can grow in temperatures between -4 and 35 C° and at great heights (up to 4000m). Moreover, quinoa only requires little fertilisation and water and even grows on saline soil. As a result, it can be planted in different contexts, which makes this crop resistant against the detrimental effects of climate change.
Super food for farmer and consumer
All these properties result in a low production cost for quinoa making it a suitable crop for organic family-based agriculture (most farmers in the Andean region). The recent growth in demand led to an increase in the income of small-scale poor farmers in the plateaus of Peru. As a result, quinoa makes an important contribution to local food security, which in turns can also make it an important crop for other countries suffering from food insecurity due to changing climate conditions.
Quinoa is known for its high nutritional value: high protein value, amino acids, fibres and minerals. According to the Food and Agriculture organisation of the UN, quinoa is the only plant that contains all essential amino acids. These properties meant that quinoa was branded as a super food. In the short term, the interest of consumers in the West for quinoa increased as it was seen as a substitute for grain and meat.
In the search for products for the future, the development of a chain of Andean crops has advanced the most. The goal for this chain is to put tricolore quinoa (mixture of red, white and black) under the Colruyt Group house brand (BONI) in the stores by 2018.
Adolf, V., Jacobsen, S., & Shabala, S. (2013). Salt tolerance mechanisms in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Environmental and Experimental Botany, 43–54.
FAO. (2013). Opgehaald van 2013: International year of Quinoa: http://www.fao.org/quinoa-2013/en/
Jacobsen, S., Mujica, A., & Jensen, C. (2006). The Resistance of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) to Adverse Abiotic Factors. Food Reviews International, 99-109.
Vega-Gálvez, A., Miranda, M., Vergara, J., Uribe, E., Puente, L., & Martinez, E. (2010). Nutrition facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2541-2547.