Quinoa, a grain-like superfood, has become so popular in Western markets that Bolivians can no longer afford to eat it. Instead, they’re turning to cheap, processed foods, raising concerns about malnutrition in a poor country where it has long been a problem.
For centuries Bolivians lived off quinoa, and it was “little more than a curiosity outside the Andes.” But it has recently caught on in wealthier countries as a healthy alternative to grains, becoming a staple at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. With demand soaring, prices have nearly tripled over the past five years. That’s great for Bolivian farmers. But it means many Bolivians can no longer afford what has long been a healthy staple of their diet. Quinoa consumption in Bolivia has dropped by 34 percent in five years. “The shift offers a glimpse into the consequences of rising global food prices and changing eating habits in both prosperous and developing nations,’ say Simon Romaro and Sara Shahriari in The New York Times.
Read more about this problem here. What exactly is quinoa, and how do you pronounce it?
Photo: CC BY rusvaplauke