Bad news if you've only just learned how to pronounce quinoa - because buckwheat is fast stealing the fashionable food's crown as the "pseudocereal" of choice for celebrity chefs and savvy shoppers.

The popular Sirt Food Diet is also thought to be behind a boom in buckwheat sales.

British supermarkets Waitrose and Sainsbury's report surging demand for the gluten-free seed, which can be used to make porridge, granola, risotto and in salads, or for baking as flour.

First sown on the plains of South East China around 6,000 BC, buckwheat is not a grain but like quinoa is a "pseudocereal" - a non-grass used in similar ways to cereals.


"It's a great alternative to rice and quinoa and is perfect for our gluten-free customers," said Chris Whittaker, a grocery buyer who says buckwheat sales are up 80 per cent year on year.

"Celebrity chefs are championing the ingredient with a wide range of recipes which include Nigella's buckwheat cookie, Jamie Oliver's buckwheat crepes with a poached apple and pear and Deliciously Ella's warming buckwheat, tomato and broccoli salad. Buckwheat flour is also becoming more popular, up 85 per cent this year," he said.

Sainsbury's too has had a surge in sales and will sell buckwheat pasta later this year to meet demand. The supermarket's buyer Sioned Read said: 'We know there is a growing interest among our customers in healthier, less refined alternatives to wheat.

"Sales of buckwheat flour have gone up 54 per cent over the last month. When Nigella made buckwheat cookies on her cookery show, searches on Sainsbury's online for "buckwheat flour" shot up 116 per cent."

Buckwheat is a "hero ingredient" in the Sirt Food Diet book, a best-seller since its launch last month. The diet's creators claim Sirt foods promote the body's ability to burn fat and they claim followers can lose seven pounds a week while maintaining muscle.

Brewers also report rising demand for buckwheat beer. Cheshire-based Green's was the first firm in Europe to make one, in 2003, and owner David Ware said sales rose 20 per cent annually for the last four years.

Try these three buckwheat recipes (and more) over on

Buckwheat noodle salad with teriyaki pork and sesame
Buckwheat pancakes with strawberry, rhubarb compote and honeyed ricotta
Buckwheat granola

- Daily Mail