Quinoa is a staple of South American inhabitants (poor and non-poor alike), a grain the people have been consuming way before it was cool with hipsters and health freaks to consume it in North America and then subsequently any Westernised continent.
The rise in popularity and demand for this precious grain-like food has created a few problems. One of the major problems is the supply struggling to keep up with demand. This once readily available staple is now a commodity, those who have been relying on it for years to feed their families and live are being robbed.
While the seed is now being in more countries with Australian and North American grown varities available for purchase, the demand for the authentic South American grown Quinoa is no less high. A 1kg bag will set you back around $10 AUD and depending where you buy it from, it can go for as high as $20 AUD for a 1kg (obviously factors like organic play a part in the price).
The trend of taking food sources that have been around for centuries like Quinoa or the Acai & Goji Berry craze that swept the world a few years ago but has since died off is an interesting one. Another third world super food is Chia which coincidentally comes from South America once again. It’s native to central and southern Mexico/Guatamala.
Chia seeds are primarily used in place of flours to thicken up soups, used in place as gelatin and a favourite of the health enthusiast. Once again another third world super food being exploited by Western society.
Keep an eye out for the next “superfood” which has yet to reach the mainstream in North America called, Cupuaçu. It’s a fruit native to Brazil in the Amazonic region which will no doubt get its turn in the superfood craze sun. You can’t really find it anywhere, so if you find yourself in Brazil give it a try before it’s exploited, exported and the price makes it go out of reach.
While one of the major issues with bringing a seed, grain or fruit grown in third world countries/regions is definitely the availability. There is also the issue of those who are paid cents per day to pick and process these superfoods have added pressure put on them to pick more in less than ideal working conditions just so soccer mother Jill can have her early morning health shake before going on her morning jog in the park.
We all get so caught up in the new it “superfood” we forget that any fruit or vegetables (especially organic are just as beneficial). Leafy greens like spinach, brussel sprouts, carrots tops, strawberry tops are all “superfoods” in their own right.