Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein and one of very few grains that contains all nine essential amino acids.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a grain crop with edible seeds that is classified as a pseudo-cereal. Quinoa originated from South America in the Peru Basin where it has been consumed for over 4000 years.


Quinoa drawing

It was considered the “mother of all grains” by the Incas, and thanks to its long list of health benefits, it is now consumed globally. Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein and one of very few grains that contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin B, Vitamin E and many antioxidants. Quinoa can be consumed as a whole grain or processed into flours, flakes, crisps, puffs, ‘bumped’ quinoa, quinoa bran, and protein powders. It is considered a good alternative to animal protein.

Quinoa is a high-value crop that can be more profitable per acre than almost all other agriculture crops in Western Canada (even corn, canola, soybeans), but comes with higher risk as there are currently no registered pesticides. Quinoa has a strong abiotic stress resistance (to salt, drought and frost) compared to other crops, and can be grown in marginal soil types, which makes it a valuable alternative within crop rotations.

Norquin has been contracting quinoa in Western Canada for the past 25 years. In 2017 over 35,000 acres of quinoa were contracted. Western Canada is an ideal fit for quinoa production in order to stabilize and expand quinoa consumption world wide. Currently, 50% of the world’s quinoa production is consumed in North America, mostly in the USA. The quinoa market is expected to grow by 26% by 2020.

NorQuin is a vertically integrated company from farm to fork and a leader in the quinoa industry globally. NorQuin’s focus has been on conducting research for agronomic recommendations, insect studies, yield trialing and plant breeding, pushing for Minor Use Registration of Pesticides, animal feed studies, new product development and quinoa sales globally.

As part of the Diverse Field Crop Cluster, NorQuin will develop the next generation high-yielding, saponin-free quinoa varieties for Western Canada and put in place quality standards for the industry that will help make Canada a global leader in Quinoa production.

Quinoa seeds in a bowl