Sergio Nuñez de Arco: The King of Quinoa

How the poor man's food from the Andes made it in America

Last year, Americans bought 57.6 million lb. (26.1 million kg) of a product that less than a decade earlier, few had heard of and fewer still could pronounce. The triumph of quinoa (kee-nwa), a grain grown primarily in Bolivia and Peru, was due largely to its gluten-free, high-protein, quick-cooking qualities. But it took Sergio Nuñez de Arco, a Bolivian-born, Berkeley-educated entrepreneur, to recognize that those qualities dovetailed neatly with his adopted country's most acute dietary obsessions. Today, Nuñez de Arco's company, Andean Naturals, imports a third of the quinoa sold in the U.S.

"Most quinoa is grown by small family farmers...

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