According to a new report released by the Towson University Department of Economics, quinoa’s popularity as a superfood is not harmful to the Peruvian communities that harvest the grain. The study analyzed welfare impacts of rising quinoa costs in Peru over the course of 10 years to determine how the high cost of quinoa, a Peruvian staple, affected farmers, consumers, and households in the area. With the worldwide popularity of the “superfood,” demand for the grain has increased greatly in recent years—leading to questions about how the mass production negatively affects farmers and populations who live around the crop. Specifically, concerns have been raised about the higher cost of a food that a local population is dependent upon. However, while the quinoa boom hit from 2006 to 2013—during which the cost of the crop tripled—this extensive study found that “quinoa production is associated with a faster rate of growth of household welfare.” Specifically, every 10 percent increase in price brought a 0.7 percent increase in household quality of life. Quinoa is the only vegan food that contains all nine essential amino acids and has now proven to be beneficial to the households in regions where it is harvested.
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