According to a story in The Lead, the demand for an ancient superfood is being met by an Adelaide company.
Freekeh, a process of heating immature green grain to halt maturation without cooking it, was developed in the Middle East in about 2300BC.
Greenwheat Freekeh has been producing the superfood commercially in South Australia since 1997 and managing director Tony Lutfi said his company was the only major producer of commercial freekeh in the world.
“I started examining the process and experimenting in 1995, then in 1996 developed the process and in 1997 built the company in Adelaide and started exporting it to the rest of the world.
Lutfi said a new plant being built on the outskirts of Adelaide will increase production up to seven-fold by 2018.
“We were able to produce 500t this year using our existing plant and next year we are expecting to produce between 1500 and 2000t and the year after between 3000 and 3500t.”
Greenwheat Freekah is a great example of an Australian food manufacturing company thinking global and not just local,” said Patrick Robinson from Invest Adelaide.
“Our reputation for high quality, safe and environmentally friendly food in overseas markets that will require a lot of food imports in the future makes investment in food manufacturing here in Adelaide a very viable proposition.”
Lutfi said his company had experimented with durum wheat, barley, triticale, and oats and recently signed an agreement in Asia to look at the production of green rice freekeh.
He said his freekeh was exported to about 12 countries including the USA, Canada, UK, France, Spain and Japan and was also experiencing strong growth in Australia.
“We capture the grain at peak taste and nutrition when it’s young and green and we put it through a natural process to lock in the nutritional value of that grain so you can have it a year or two later and still enjoy the health benefits,” Lutfi said.