Every day I receive boxes of new product samples and calls from naturals companies hoping to be featured as an editor's pick in Natural Foods Merchandiser or in the Web series First Bite. I can't cover them all, but I can highlight one favorite each week. See what recently caught my attention.
Yes, I have said that I’m absolutely tired of new quinoa products. Most recently at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, the ubiquitous grain appeared in everything from nutrition bars to pasta sauce. So when Senior Associate Editor Caren Baginski invited someone to our office with a new quinoa product, I was none too excited.
Luckily, Christopher Algea, president and founder of Keen One Quinoa came ready to impress. He brought with him prepared samples that were light, fluffy and almost reminded me more of couscous than what I typically associate as quinoa.
The flavor I tried, Pollo Picante, was seasoned with organic tomato, onion, jalapeño and a secret blend of spices. It was flavorful but not overpowering, as some pre-flavored grains can be. And, despite the word "pollo" in the name, the product is actually vegan. As can be expected with a quinoa product, each serving offered a healthy dose of fiber (4g) and protein (7g).
The quinoa packets come pre-rinsed and seasoned. Once brought to a boil in 1 cup of water, they cook up in just 7 minutes. Anyone who's pre-rinsed and prepared quinoa before can tell you what a boon this is. Even better, Algea said he's currently designing a pouch that will allow the grains to be prepared directly in the packaging, making them perfect for camping.
While the price point is high: $3.99 for a 3.6 oz pack which serves two, I'm impressed the company is using organic ingredients and sourcing the grains directly from Peru to insure growers are paid a fair wage.
While the product is only available in Colorado stores right now, Algea is currently working on a package redesign and national distribution.