Research shows that consumers mindful of health, wellness and nutrition are seeking out ancient grains, which include quinoa, wheat spelt, faro, amaranth, freekeh and teff, among others. According to a recent report from Packaged Facts, 19% of U.S. consumers said they have purchased menu or retail items with ancient grains in the past year.
“Ancient seeds and grains are benefiting from a rising interest in vegetarian options that taste like and stand in for meat,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts, adding that sales are increasing as more people identify as vegetarian and “flexitarian.”
Findings from analytics and insight company SPINS underscores such interest, revealing that sales of ancient grains increased sharply in 2014. Another survey from Today’s Dietitian and Pollack Communications predicted that ancient grains will continue to grow and become a major nutritional trend.
Meanwhile, the trendiness of the paleo diet and concurrent clamor for gluten-free products is also spurring the resurgence in ancient grains. According to the 2015 “What’s in Store” report from the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (I.D.D.B.A.), demand for gluten-free products has led to a greater use of ingredients like rice flours, corn flour and ancient grains.
Many leading brands have gotten back to the literal roots of healthy eating. Pepperidge Farm, for example, offers an ancient grain variety of whole grain bread. The Kellogg Co. has added a line of Kellogg’s Origins cereals, muesli and granolas made with blends of traditional and ancient grains; the brand’s raisin apple granola and cranberry almond with pumpkin seeds granola are sold in a stand up recloseable pouch with the signature Kellogg’s red color paired with earth-evoking hues of green and brown.
From a recognition standpoint, Boulder Canyon Ancient Grain chips from Inventure Foods recently won a 2015 Cleanest Packaging Food Award from Prevention magazine. The chips are sold in a 5.5-oz bag, featuring bold photography and a rich golden backdrop.
Launches of new products made with ancient grains — prominently touted on the package — continue. Gluten-free European manufacturer Schär recently revamped its original line of bread to include artisan style bread that is100% gluten-free and made with ancient grains. In the United States, the Cape Cod brand of snacking chips recently rolled out new Dipping Shells, including tortilla chips made with ancient grains of quinoa, black sesame and amaranth. The Udi’s lineup of gluten-free snacks now includes Ancient Grain Crisps, formulated with amaranth, quinoa, sesame, millet, and black seeds and available in aged cheddar, sea salt, and jalapeño cheddar varieties. As with other many other products made with ancient grains, the words “ancient grains” are featured in large, bold typeface on the bag.