Researchers at the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett institute are examining the health benefits of non-conventional crops and to develop ways of incorporating them into everyday food. Through a competitive Innovate UK grant, they are looking at Peruvian crops such as purple corn and yacón (a species of daisy, known for its sweet-tasting tuberous roots.).

West Midlands based company Perubien focuses on promoting the health benefits of these Peruvian crops to diversify UK nutrition. From November they will work with a Rowett scientists using functional food, natural products and microbiology expertise to turn these more unusual crops into specialised ingredients and will study their systemic and microbial metabolism and health benefits.

Purple corn contains compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, important for those with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lately, there has been a growing awareness of the link between diet and type 2 diabetes.