The New Zealand Quinoa Co

FOODPILOT

What started out as an idea mulled over a bowl of quinoa porridge for breakfast one morning, Taranaki farmers, Kate and Hamish Dunlop, are now growing, processing and selling a small but growing range of award-winning quinoa-based products. The latest of these is Natural Quinoa Puffs: extruded snack products developed at the FoodPilot, Massey University.

The snack product idea solved a couple of their problems: how to feed their young children with a ‘guilt-free’, yummy snack and, what to do with the smaller seed raw material from their farm. While most of their quinoa grains are sold as premium whole grain, the proportion that is of smaller size have much lower value in the market. Turning this material into a snack product was a perfect solution.

Kate and Hamish set off to develop their first snack prototypes, but the initial project work resulted in poor texture and flavor – earthy and bitter notes as is often associated with quinoa and an unappealing texture that dissolved too quickly in the mouth, making the product unsuitable as a snack food. They got in touch with the FoodPilot team to solve these problems.

The FoodPilot’s expert technologists refined the product recipes and processing methods. A range of ingredients such as pumpkin and broad bean flours were formulated in with the quinoa to address not just those underlying earthy, bitter notes but also to achieve a better texture and structure to the extruded snacks. In addition, the FoodPilot’s extruder was the perfect machine to conduct all the experimentation as it is a scaled-down version of most commercial extruders therefore transitioning the process to the Dunlops’ manufacturer was seamless.

The result of all this work at the FoodPilot? Crunchy, tasty, wholesome Quinoa Puffs, available at your local supermarket!