Top | Sift

The quinoa problem

(article, Culinate staff)

A decade ago, few North Americans were familiar with quinoa; Corby Kummer, The Atlantic's longtime food writer, had to explain how to pronounce the name of the tiny, protein-rich Andean seed when he sang its praises in 2002. Now that Northerners have embraced quinoa, the old supply-and-demand problem has emerged. In Bolivia, the ancestral home of the seed, quinoa is now too expensive for locals, who can only afford cheaper white-flour products even while earning more money by exporting quinoa. The frustrating results? Poor health in the countries that formerly relied on a foodstuff that the rest of the world now snaps up to improve health.