ConAgra adds buckwheat, spelt to ancient grains line

by Jeff Gelski
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OMAHA — ConAgra Mills has expanded its line of ancient grains by adding buckwheat, spelt and a variety of puffed and toasted grains. Introduced in 2007, the ancient grains line already includes amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, millet and teff.

The expanded product line is available in whole grain flours, whole seeds, toasted grains, puffed grains and custom multigrain blends in traditional, gluten-free and organic options. The ancient grains have protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

“Consumer research shows us that Americans are excited about these heritage grains for a variety of reasons, including adding culinary adventure to mainstream favorites,” said Joni Huffman, director of business development for Omaha-based ConAgra Mills. “We’re excited to give our customers even more grain ingredient options for product development — all with the backing of the ConAgra Mills brand, including our assurance of quality and supply. Whether it’s gluten-free, multigrain or organic, our flours, grains and custom blends offer a diverse palette for food companies.”

According to the fourth edition of Baking Science & Technology published by Sosland Publishing Co., Kansas City, it is believed buckwheat originated in south central Asia. It is generally considered a “pseudocereal” and is not related to wheat or any other of the cereal grains. Buckwheat is high in protein and does not contain gluten. The species most commonly grown in the United States is Fagopyrum esculentum.

Also according to the fourth edition of Baking Science & Technology, spelt (Triticum spelta) is a wheat that originated in the mountains of the Fertile Crescent that runs from the Nile River in Egypt to the Tigris-Euphrates River valley. Spelt contains gluten proteins.

ConAgra Mills is a food ingredients brand of ConAgra Foods, Inc., also based in Omaha. On March 5, ConAgra Foods, Cargill and CHS announced they had agreed to combine their North American flour milling businesses to form Ardent Mills, a new flour milling company. The formation of Ardent Mills is expected to be completed late this calendar year.

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