Five Peruvian SMEs set to obtain gluten-free certification in 2015 (en)
Quinoa is a naturally gluten-free product. As such it meets the growing demand of, among others, celiac patients and patients suffering from irritable bowel disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
However, as the production areas of quinoa are expanding, there is also an increased contamination risk. For example, crops could become contaminated with gluten during production, transport, milling and packaging processes. Hence, to market quinoa as gluten-free, independent certifiers have to be hired to assess the gluten-free nature of process and certify the crops as gluten-free.
In January 2015, the ITC Trade and Environment Programme (TEP) in partnership with the Peruvian export promotion agency, Promperú, initiated a gluten-free certification programme to support five leading Peruvian SMEs exporting quinoa. This programme is part of a joint ITC and Promperú project to promote exports of biodiversity-based products from Peru.
As a first step ITC and Promperú jointly offered a workshop in collaboration with the certifier NSF International to inform the beneficiaries of the programme about the certification process and the international market for gluten-free products.
In the course of 2015, the beneficiaries will receive guidance to ensure their processes are gluten-free. By June 2015, all beneficiaries will be audited by NSF in order to receive the gluten-free certification.
Gluten-free certifications inform consumers with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders about the gluten content of food, beverages and supplements. Certifiers assess the gluten content of products and confirm the legitimacy of the producer’s gluten-free claims.
According to Mintel, a market research agency, the industry for gluten-free food and beverages increased by 44 % between 2011 and 2013, reaching a market volume of US $ 10.5 billion in 2013 in the United States. As the consumption of gluten-free products is increasing among the general public, Mintel expects the industry to grow further by around 40 % in the coming years.
Given the growing demand for gluten-free products, the gluten-free certification programme opens up further market opportunities for producers of Andean grains – and quinoa in particular. Once they are certified, beneficiaries will be able to market their products as gluten-free at international trade fairs, thus increasing the spectrum of potential international buyers.