IndusFresh Details

By TPCI | August 29, 2019

With a transformational shift in eating habits around the globe, diet keepers have been going gaga at super foods and are making maximum usage of such products in their daily diet. One such miraculous food, undoubtedly is Quinoa. These pseudo-grains, which are actually seeds from the Andean region of Equador, have gained momentum in their usage across the globe, not only due to their high protein and fibre content but also since they are a boon for ardent dieters.

What if this exotic source of nutrients can be replaced with an indigenous product? Yes, farmers have been growing a plant called amaranth in India, which is as much a star as quinoa,though not nearly as well known!

Meet India’s Superstar Grain

With the growing fad for healthy eating today, there is shift from taste-based consumption to quality-based consumption of food products, thereby triggering the sales of supplements & superfoods in the world market. For more than 10,000 years, people have been satiating their nutritional requirements with cereals & grains such as wheat, oats, rice maize, barley etc. 

A grain cultivated for more than 8,000 years in India, Amranth was not consumed earlier as it was considered a weed. However, in the present day scenario, this grain is back in popular demand.

Dating back to the eras of Mayas, Incas & Aztecs, Amaranth would earlier be consumed as a staple food by these civilizations. They consumed it as an instant source of energy & it was the main part of all their rituals. Over the years research has revealed multiple nutritional properties of Amaranth seeds such as valuable phenolic compounds, antioxidants, minerals, fibre, calcium, protein and vitamins, which are highly beneficial for human health!

The seeds of the amaranth are also known as rajgira (or ram daana) and are often used to make flour. Its leaves, called chauli bhaji, are easily available in most vegetable markets. Therefore, rajgira, like quinoa, is a pseudo-grain and shares these qualities. As an interesting fact, at an average of around Rs. 120-150 per kg, it is also three times cheaper than its Ecuadorian counterpart. Termed as “complete proteins”, these fibres are also used to make nutritious oil, which is now popular in the market.

Booming Amaranth Oil Usage

Amaranth seed oil’s market segmentation is based on its usage. In recent years, Amaranth oil usage has increased in the domestic as well as global industry as its multiple purposes are discovered.

As a rich source of protein & vitamins the oil is used in food supplements & in foodstuffs. Also used as animal feed additive, these serve as a high nutrition for farm animals. As a source of antioxidants, it is also used as lotion or topical for its anti-aging properties. Furthermore, scientists are also experimenting on Amaranth for its use in lipsticks etc. 

In the pharmaceutical industry, amaranth seed oil is used in formulation of pharmaceutical compositions beneficial for cell rejuvenation, improving the immune system, etc.

Thus the growth in application segments and increasing demand for natural oils is driving growth of amaranth seeds in the industry.

With India having a huge pharmaceutical industry, the product is also being researched for its ‘squalene content’ (referring to a health-friendly organic compound). This has drastically increased the demand of the product in the domestic market.

Global Trends

The global industry for Organic Amaranth seeds is huge. With the increased awareness for organic products & mainly superfoods, Organic Amaranth Seeds are consumed widely & in various forms. Consumed in salads, main course, deserts & cookies as whole as well as flour, these native seeds are a multi-purpose delight!

Amaranth seeds are found in countries such as Mexico, Africa, India, Russia, South America, China, North America etc, while the major exporters are Peru, Bolivia & India. Indian Amaranth seeds are exported prominently to countries like Europe, USA & Canada. Some of the leading Indian players in this segment are Mali Agro, Jkh exports and Agrotech seeds.