The term “ancient grains” includes some of the world’s oldest grain varieties. These varieties haven’t been altered by humans for as long as they’ve been on earth. Up until now, you would typically only find ancient grains in baked goods like bread and cakes. Grain flour is often combined in a ribbon mixer with yeast, salt, water, and preservatives to make bread. However, in recent years, food product developers, chefs, and restaurants have been using ancient grains in a variety of foods, such as yogurt and breakfast cereals.
The ancient grains most commonly used on the market are buckwheat, amaranth, Bulgar wheat, millet, quinoa, teff, and sorghum. These grains provide lots of nutrition and have their own unique flavors. Many of the ancient grains are also free of gluten, making them perfect substitutes in products that conventionally contain gluten. Some of the grains have a flour texture in and of themselves, and so they’re marketed along with standard flour and specialty flours. Some of these grains, such as Bulgar and quinoa, can be found sold as side dishes alongside rice.
Some consumers swear by ancient grains because of their attractive simplicity and nutritional value. This comes from small-scale processing, and so they’re most likely to be organic and non-GMO, unlike many foods produced on a large scale. This adds to the consumer’s perceived value of the food.
Interest in sprouted grains and sprouted grain products, such as grain sprout bread, is also growing. More and more consumers are interested in nutritional value, digestive health, and an interest in raw foods.
One example of companies incorporating ancient grains into their produces is Fage Greek Yogurt. The company has been promoting their product as an essential ingredient in chef-inspired cuisine, offering recipe ideas on their social media platforms and media advertisements. Their dual-compartment container yogurt includes Greek yogurt on one side, and various ancient grains on the other side. The maple syrup with ancient grains variety includes amarath, quinoa flakes, and millet flakes along with chia and sunflower seeds.
Processing ancient grains has long been a practice in food manufacturing, but now the grains are getting their own time in the spotlight.