Demand for quinoa has increased fivefold over the last ten years due to its gluten-free status, high nutritional profile, and popularity with various natural food trends. Most of the world’s supply currently comes from Bolivia and Peru. With high demand comes increasing pressure to process quinoa quickly, often resulting in variable product quality and purity.
Guelph-area company Katan Kitchens
is set to produce the highest-quality quinoa in the world, right here in Ontario. The company, in partnership with the University of Guelph, has been working on developing several quinoa varieties conducive to Ontario’s climate and soil conditions. Field trials have yielded positive results, with most parameters measuring as good as, if not better, than commercially available varieties.
In 2013, OCE supported Katan Kitchens with a Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) to help determine the ideal range of soil phosphorous levels needed to harvest crops with the highest nutritional content. The company is looking to engage in another VIP looking at potassium levels. Results from these studies will guide Ontarian farmers on how best to optimize quinoa production for the highest nutritional content.
Katan Kitchens is currently working on raising capital to the tune of $3.5 million to build a processing facility in northern Ontario for harvest of the 2015 crop. Their product, named Quinta, will be available by late 2015/early 2016. More than 100 farmers in Ontario have already expressed interest in growing quinoa.
Return on Innovation
- Currently employs three full-time people
- Projects hiring 10 in the next year
- Estimates the creation of 50 jobs in the next 3-5 years
- OCE Investment: $25,000
OCE©2014 Last updated 10/2014