Andean Naturals Inc., a leading importer, and processor of organic and fair trade quinoa from Bolivia has sold its 's quinoa sourcing, cleaning and packaging operation in Yuba City, California to The Annex by Ardent Mills (The Annex), with the deal expected to be completed by mid-February 2020.

Andean Naturals Inc. was founded by Sergio Nunez de Arco in 2004, who sourced organic quinoa from up to 4,500 small family farms in Bolivia and is a B Corp ‘Best for the World’ company and a champion of the traditional quinoa growers of Bolivia's Altiplano. The company is based out of Yuba City, California, where it operates its U.S. ancient grains facility. Its quinoa refining facility is in La Paz, Bolivia.

Ardent Mills, a leading U.S. flour-milling and ingredient company, announced its intention on February 5 to further invest in specialty grain capabilities and The Annex by Ardent Mills (The Annex) by purchasing Andean Naturals, Inc. U.S. operations.

"Our industry is rapidly changing as consumers' appetite for variety in their diets continues to increase," said Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills. "As a result, we are making proactive investments in The Annex to meet consumer demand for high-quality, nutritious grains and other sources of plant-based ingredients. With this acquisition, we will be able to offer a complete solution for quinoa and other gluten-free ingredients."

"In The Annex, we are proud to offer ingredients from passionate, knowledgeable farmers, and this purchase continues that tradition," added Shrine White, general manager of The Annex.

Ardent Mills said that Yuba City will be Ardent Mills' first gluten-free sourcing and cleaning facility with the ability to expand to additional grains. This important milestone for The Annex comes shortly after the acquisition of an organic grain elevator in Klamath Falls, Oregon, the Colorado Quinoa™ exclusivity partnership, as well as the Denver RiNo investment to clean and pack specialty grains.

The Annex is a business unit of Ardent Mills that is cultivating the future of specialty grains and plant-based ingredients. It's supported by a dedicated team committed to exploring what's next in whole grains, pulses, mixes, custom multigrain blends, and finished bread. Its broad portfolio includes ancient and heirloom grains, organic grains and flours, sprouted wheat, and chickpeas, as well as innovations such as Sustagrain® High-Fiber Barley and White Sonora, heirloom wheat.

Sergio Nunez de Arco CEO Andean Naturals

Andean Naturals, Inc. president and founder Sergio Nunez de Arco will join Ardent Mills and said: "For Andean Naturals, this mutually beneficial acquisition is the natural progression of our mission to share quinoa with the world. While we've built expertise in quinoa sourcing and connections to South American farmers, Ardent Mills brings milling and technical knowledge, access to markets, and the ability to scale quickly with a sustainable approach.

"Our team is excited to be a part of Ardent Mills, offering a similar values-based culture and a solid vision for growth." 
In 2012, Andean Naturals signed a joint venture agreement with U.S. trading firm Specialty Commodities that positioned the two firms as the leading supplier and buyer of quinoa in North America. The two companies held 35 percent of the U.S. quinoa market in 2011. The deal came after Andean Naturals opened its new Jacha Inti S.A. state-of-the-art facility in La Paz, Bolivia, to meet the highest international standards and process and co-pack organic quinoa from 600 family farms for the U.S.