Well… almost? Quinoa’s popularity has been on a rise and I now see shelves full of this stuff in Whole Foods, for example, and other markets in the my area. But what has been really puzzling to me are the price ranges – I think I actually found a 12oz box for $12 (unless this Quinoa holds the key to all life’s problems, I’ll stick with the cheaper variety, thank you). So I found a generic brand for about $4 and took it home. Then the other day I was out shopping again and was really drawn to a box of red, “heirloom variety” / pasankalla quinoa. With a price point of $6 for 12oz Vs. the generic bag that I bought of 16oz, the heirloom variety is 50% more expensive then the generic. This got me thinking… if quinoa is quinoa is quinoa, then what gives?
So naturally I looked at the nutritional content of the 2 when I got home, and saw that in fact there are some differences between the two. The quinoa on the left is the “value brand” one, the one on the right is the pasankalla / heirloom variety. See if you can notice any differences (other then color – but I do find the red more “sexy” & fun, haha):
From first glance, I was immediately drawn to the differences in the calorie, carbohydrate and fiber content. The value brand seems to have less cals., sugars and carbs… but also less fiber. Then I looked again and realized that the grams per serving were different, so I did a little math and came up with the following comparison table:
So my conclusion? Please read the labels when you’re shopping. As a whole we don’t get nearly as much fiber in our diets as we should, so you always want to maximize your fiber intake. But if the price point is much too high to swallow for a little extra fiber, then go for the regular stuff. You’ll still receive the health benefits of eating quinoa (which I go into during my Health Coaching sessions) even in a value brand. So crunch away!