Could sacha inchi be the new superfood?

Tuesday, 28 November, 2017

The world is constantly on the hunt for the next superfood. In the past it has been kale, chia seeds and acai berries, but a popular one in Asia right now is sacha inchi.

Native to South America and Southeast Asia, sacha inchi is a seed that is usually eaten like a nut as a healthy snack. It is crunchy with a buttery aftertaste, and it comes in a variety of flavours including natural or salted.

Sacha inchi is rich in proteins and fibre, and has high levels of plant-based omega 3s which can help mental and cardiovascular health. As well as being considered a superfood, it is also GMO-free and gluten-free, meaning it will appeal to a wide audience.

A leading supplier of sustainable natural and organic ingredients in Peru, Agroindustrias Osho, has helped in the sustainable development of the seed. It has also been involved in the whole supply chain, from farm to export.

The company thought up ways to meet rising consumer demand for sacha inchi, producing a number of products including sacha inchi seed oils, protein powders, extruded snacks and roasted and flavoured seeds. It is suitable for direct consumption, or in salads or healthy granola mixes.

Other markets such as the US and South Korea have also shown interest in the seed, according to the management team of the company, Juan and Miguel Navarro.

According to Innova Market Insights data, global product launches featuring sacha inchi have seen a CAGR of 24% between 2012 and 2016, and it is hoped that this will continue to grow as more novel food applications are created. Currently, sports nutrition and supplements are the leading applications for the seed, which is not surprising considering its health benefits.

Local trade promotion organisation PromPeru is working with Agroindustrias Osho and others, with additional support from Dutch development agency CBI, to develop more options. While sacha inchi oil is already commercially available in Europe, the seed is expected to be embraced by more European consumers in the future.

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