As attractive as baked foods made with variety flours can be at the benchtop and product development level, bakers must also give serious consideration to the supply chain for such ingredients. “A few pounds for development is not the same as truckloads for the launch,” said Colleen Zammer, director of product marketing, Bay State Milling Co., Quincy, MA.

Some of the most desirable — quinoa, for example — are both expensive and scarce, limited in supply to a few high-altitude growing regions outside the US. Ms. Zammer noted, however, experiments by some domestic growers working with teff in Idaho and amaranth in Colorado. There’s even a nascent quinoa program in the US. Others such as sorghum, barley and millet have been growing in North American fields for years.

Bay State recently acquired T.J. Harkins Basic Commodity Brokers, Inc., with its resource chain specializing in ancient grains, edible seeds, certified-organic and specialty grain flours and blends.

And when ConAgra Mills announced its Ancient Grains line of flours and grain blends, it emphasized supply chain advantages — described by Beth Arndt, PhD, director of R&D, ConAgra Mills, Omaha, NE, as “assuredness of supply.”