Teff - The New Super Grain

A couple of years ago, articles about Teff flooded the internet and major news agencies. Talking about the content of this highly nutritious seeds, many even rated it above Quinoa, the Andean grain that took on the world few years ago. Teff was now the super grain. Packed with calcium, iron, fiber and protein and with its gluten free composition, it was the new grain to substitute wheat and its kind. But still, it felt short from being a household name, especially in Northern America. If you'd ask any American household about Quinoa they would know what it is, but Teff was still fairly new to many. It is true some companies have found the lucrative market making bread and cereal with Teff and have been selling the readymade food items online, but not as much. Apart from finding the Teff flour by itself at Whole Foods or at various Ethiopian Stores, there is hardly anything made with it and no big market. Evidently there is Injera, the flat spongy bread found in many Ethiopian restaurants, used to scoop up all the delicious sauces and meat, but nothing that expands beyond that.
Unquestionably, there is a market ready to flourish here in the west, so why hadn't Teff picked up on the hype? The delay may be attributed not to the scarcity of Teff but to the control of the market? About 6.3 million farmers in Ethiopia grow Teff for 90+ million Ethiopians and the 2+ million Ethiopians living in the diaspora. Almost 20% of the land is cultivated to grow these tiny seeds and more can be allocated to reach the high demand if necessary. Even Ethiopian Airlines is packed in its daily flight with containers of injera ready to be consumed by those living abroad. Certainly, shortage is not the problem. However, the controlled market is due to the concern of what the flood gates might bring, should Teff be open for exports. As studies show in the Andean community, with the open market of Quinoa, lots of poor communities were hit harder rather than gain capital from their new sales. The growing demand had pushed prices of Quinoa so high that some locals could no longer afford to eat their staple food. Farmers who couldn't keep up with the demand were forced to sell their land to big companies that could work the land and yield more crops. Pesticide companies, looking to capitalize in this new market also infiltrated the land. Before the country realized, some of its crops were being engulfed by the big food manufacturers and they were losing control. Learning from the Quinoa world, it's understandable if Ethiopia uses a cautionary method to control theTeff Market.
Definitely, there are customers waiting and farmers ready to exportTeff. When it gets to the international market, we hope it will be used in more products and included in more recipes other than the plainInjera bread. It will be a great opportunity for Ethiopia to grow and expand the production and distribution of this amazing grain. But it's a market that needs to be approached delicately with social responsibility. At the heart of this, Brundo International anticipates to someday bring you this highly nutritious grain directly from the farm to your table.
What is Teff: Harvested in the highlands of Ethiopia, Teff is the smallest grain in the world, tiny in size yet packed with nutrition, and it takes 150 grains of teff to equal one kernel of wheat. There are a few varieties of teff that vary from Ivory to dark brown, the most popular colors are red, ivory and brown. Teff is an ancient and intriguing grain native to Ethiopia, it originated in Ethiopia between 4000 BC and 1000 BC.
Teff is an excellent source of protein, amino acids and fiber. For instance, a 2-ounce serving of teff has 7 grams of protein, equal to an extra-large egg. Teff is higher in calcium and iron content than oats or millet. A cup of cooked teff contains 387 mg of calcium which is 40% of the U.S. recommended daily allowance. One half cup Teff can be used to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. Cooked Teff is gelatinous and adds body to puddings and pies. It is a healthy thickener for soups, stews, and gravies. Its mild slight sweetness makes Teff easy to include in many breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, stir fry dishes, casseroles, soups, stews, and puddings.
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