Sourcing SIMPLi: Quinoa
SIMPLi offers high quality, delicious, nutrient-dense ingredients widely loved by home cooks and sought out by top chefs alike across five different categories: grains, legumes, superfoods, spices and oils. We’re kicking off a new series that puts a spotlight on our ingredients in each category, starting with grains.
First up is quinoa—given its growing popularity in the Western world, you may have heard of it. Pronounced “keen-wah,” this ancient grain is coveted for its health-related attributes, like gluten-free and complete plant-based protein, tasty flavor profiles, and unique texture.
Though it’s an ancient grain, quinoa is frequently used in the modern-day kitchen and incorporated into even the simplest of recipes to add great flavor and exceptional nutrients like fiber and all nine essential amino acids. There are an array of quinoa varieties—from red and white to black, and tri-color—each with its own unique flavor profile and myriad ways to prepare it.
SIMPLi’s White Quinoa has a delicate flavor with a light and fluffy texture, while the Red Quinoa has nutty flavor notes with a richer taste and heartier texture. For an earthy and sweet flavor with a hearty texture, opt for Black Quinoa. SIMPLi’s Tri-Color Quinoa blends fluffy white, nutty red, and hearty black varieties together.
SIMPLi sources its quinoa directly from farming communities in the Andes mountains of Peru, where ideal growing conditions for the crop have exist for generations. We work with multiple farming communities throughout the Andes: in Andahuaylas in the Apurímac region, Ayacucho in the Huamanga province, Chumbivilca in the Cusco region, and the District of Taraco in the Puno region.
Quinoa has been grown and harvested in the Andes region for thousands of years. Peru's agricultural communities harvest nutrient-dense quinoa that is unparalleled in quality and vital to a regenerative ecosystem, which is why SIMPLi brought this product to market. In fact, quinoa produces abundant organic matter that can easily be returned to the soil to help improve its quality over time.
However, quinoa farmers haven’t always benefitted from the Western popularity of quinoa.
Why is this?
Because middlemen within the supply chain often cut farmer’s profits. At SIMPLi, we simplify the supply chain by eliminating many traditional middlemen (from local broker/coop to exporter, importer, distributor and more), thereby shifting power back to our partner farmers and increasing their economic growth potential, while also supplying single origin ingredients to consumers in the U.S.
In addition, the market has been flooded with cheaper, lower-quality quinoa grown outside of Peru. Peru provides about half of the world's supply of quinoa, making it the world’s top producer for the product. This influx of quinoa into the market grown outside of Peru has forced Peruvian farmers to compete by growing quinoa outside of the Andes and mix the product with quinoa of different origins.
SIMPLi’s fully vertical supply chain ensures consumers receive the exact single-origin ingredient they purchased. SIMPLi’s quinoa also tastes less bitter than other types of quinoa due to less processing in the supply chain and due to its single-origin nature.
SIMPLi has helped farming communities in Peru significantly increase profitability (10%+) within the past year, with profitability expected to grow by at least 20% throughout the development of its regenerative organic program in upcoming years. By investing in Indigenous communities, sharing knowledge on farming techniques, soil management, and market access, SIMPLi pays them above market prices for their crops while improving their livelihoods.
One taste of SIMPLi’s quinoa will transport your palette straight to Peru. Cooked in just 12 minutes on the stovetop, quinoa is a perfect quick ingredient to mix into your favorite soups and salads or incorporate into your breakfast for a protein-packed start to your day. You can find SIMPLi quinoa in your favorite meals at restaurants like Just Salad and meal delivery companies like Mighty Meals, or you can buy it at natural foods retailers like Whole Foods Market and Erewhon.
Embark on a journey to the Andes of Peru by watching our Sourcing SIMPLi Quinoa episode on Instagram.
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