It all started with a brief conversation at the Fancy Food Show in New York City in July of 2007. The owner of a company was telling me about an idea for a new product.
“What’s it called?” I asked inquisitively.
“Sacha Inchi," he said.
“Uh…I’ve never heard of it.” I replied. I asked him what it was.
“It’s the next cool thing.” he predicted.
I think he might be right. The "he" I am speaking of is Laurent Coulloumme-Labarthe. He along with his partner, Thierry Ollivier, are the proprietors of a unique product development company called Brandstorm. You may know them as the guys who brought goji berries and Himalanian pink salt to U.S. grocery retailers several years ago. They have a knack for finding interesting and unique food products from around the world, so I was immediately interested in this new food find.
Turns out that Sacha Inchi is a plant that grows in the highlands of Peru. Thierry had discovered it on a product exploration trip to South America. It produces a seed that is really like a nut if you roast it. One of the best attributes of the nut-like seeds is that they contain huge amounts of three varieties of omega fatty acids: 3, 6 and 9. Laurent said they were tasty when roasted and salted. Sounded like a healthy snack to me. I asked Laurent when he would have this product ready to show me. He said it could be a year or more as they needed to fine tune the operation. Great. Get me interested in the product, and then make me wait. I’m not known for being very patient.
Well, the wait paid off when we recently launched the Sacha Inchi nuts under the TerrAmazon
brand name, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market. There are three varieties: plain, tamari and sweet, which is enrobed with a sugar coating. Those are my favorite. Though the taste does resemble a nut, it has some different textural and flavor qualities all its own. Add in those omegas and its truly a healthy snack. Just so the Sacha Inchi nuts don’t feel lonely, Laurent and Theirry also procured some other South American products to create an entire family under the TerrAmazon name. Cacao is widely grown in South America, so there are a few products that are based on that ingredient, including powder and nibs with dried fruits like pineapple, raisins and coconut. There are other unique products as well. More on those in my next blog, so…stay tuned!