Demand increases as Kernza aligns with food-maker goals
Demand for grain from Kernza is growing. It’s attracting interest from mid-size and large-scale food companies, according to Elizabeth Haucke, president of Plovgh in Viroqua, Wis. Plovgh — pronounced “plow” — provides custom-sourcing services for food manufacturers, and contracts with growers on their behalf.
A growing number of bakers are using Kernza grain in breads, crackers and tortillas, Haucke said. And food giant General Mills has called Kernza a sweet and nutty-tasting grain that lends itself well as an ingredient for cereals and snacks.
The nutritional qualities of Kernza are similar to wheat, but Kernza has higher protein levels, according to the University of Minnesota. While Kernza contains gluten, its gluten levels are lower than wheat.
But another reason for the growth in demand is that Kernza production aligns with the sustainability goals of many food companies. General Mills, for example, has been working with The Land Institute and the University of Minnesota to research the viability of Kernza as a sustainable grain.