Background The increasing health and environmental concerns related to food production and consumption within the process of food globalization have emerged the sustainable diet concept.
Objectives This study aimed to compare the nutritional value and price between the locally grown and imported legumes and seeds.
Methods We searched 2 chain markets of Turkey and online stores of the food brands and included 15 legumes and seeds including locally grown (chickpeas, cannellini bean, green lentils and red lentils) and imported foods (red beans, black beans, quinoa (black, red and white), buckwheat, mung beans, teff seeds, amaranth, chia seed and flaxseed). Nutritional value (energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, fiber and sodium) of the food per 100 gram was analyzed. We also compared the price of the foods.
Results Among the imported foods, flaxseed has the highest energy (534 kcal) and aft (42 g) content and the lowest carbohydrate content (29 g). Chickpeas have the highest energy (334 kcal) and fat (5.3 g) content whereas green beans has the highest protein content 923 g) in the locally grown foods group. Imported mung beans and locally grown cannellini beans have similar nutritional value. For instance, both mung bean and the cannellini beans have the same amount of energy content (281 kcal). Protein values were also similar (22.2 g for mung beans and 21.8 g for cannellini beans). The most expensive food was the imported quinoa (6.5 Turkish liras per 100 g) and the cheapest food was the locally grown bulgur (1.5 Turkish liras per 100 g).
Conclusion We showed that the nutritional value of locally grown foods and imported foods are similar. However, the price difference between these foods is significantly high. While access to locally grown legumes and seeds are easy and slightly cheaper, consumption of imported foods has been increasing due to different factors that push people to consume these foods such as the perception of health value and advertisements of these foods. It is also important to emphasize that uses of the locally grown foods and imported foods are different from each other. Locally grown foods are generally used in traditional Turkish cuisine, whereas imported foods are mostly put into salads to increase the nutritional value. In parallel with increasing use of the imported foods as a part of healthy balanced diet, Turkey has started to grow its own crops such as buckwheat and amaranth in the recent years. This will not only make access easier to these foods but will also provide sustainability in the diet.
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