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Buckwheat is Tipped to be the Cream of the Crop

Buckwheat is Tipped to be the Cream of the Crop

Tipped to be the crop of 2024, buckwheat is having it’s time in the spotlight, increasingly featuring on social media, restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. This pseudocereal is gluten-free, has a low-medium glycaemic index, is rich in fibre and contains small amounts of high-quality protein. These are just some of the reasons for recent consumer uptake, and why it’s appearing in everything from pizza bases to honey.

First planted over 5,000 years ago in China, Buckwheat has been used in Asian and European dishes for centuries. Consumers are enjoying it’s current craze in the mainstream market for it being climate ready, nutrient-dense and most importantly, versatile. The Food People identified that two key driving trends in 2024 were a heightened concern with nutrition, and climate awareness. Buckwheat being the a hearty grain that it is, responds to both of these trending consumer concerns.

Predicted to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4% between now and 2032, this grain already features as an oat granola and grain replacement in most of the UK’s leading cereal brands and is taking over the supermarket snacking aisle too. Snacking aisles across the globe are having a surge of new products and lots of them being allergen friendly and nutritionally focused. 

While healthy snacking companies have been trying to break the junk food cycle for years it seems the tide is finally turning, with even legacy brands like Tim Tam launching gluten free options. New ancient grains have opened the door for snack manufacturers to produce allergen friendly products with bolstered nutritional values, appealing to consumers health-conscious side. UK- based Insane Grain was arguably the first to popularise sorghum as an alternative to the traditional ingredient potato crisp, and we expect brands in Australia and the US to follow suit shortly with further ingredient alternatives.

Every year the Pantone Colour Institute names a ‘colour of the year’ and recently announced 2024’s colour of the year as ‘Peach Fuzz’. Peach was chosen to reflect consumer's desire to be comforted, and so even if dishes are not directly championing peach, we are seeing a trend towards warming comfort foods and safety in the familiar. Retro dishes are back in fashion, validating the comforting warmth of familiarity. Creations such as peach melba, trifle, and roulade are proving popular with chefs and customers alike, providing a popular base from which to adapt and innovate.

Sweet peaches are the main character is desserts like panna cotta and crumble, and poached peach shaved ice (Melbourne, AU), offering a calming hue and delicate sweetness. With the continuing increases in the overall cost of living, the need for comforting experiences, wherever consumers can get them, is something to be savoured.

2024 will be the year of nutrition and harnessing the power of food to promote good health and wellbeing. Seeds, nuts, cereals, and grains will be integral in this as they are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.