An increased diagnosis of celiac disease has led to strong growth in the gluten-free market, of which sorghum is a key component. While 40,000 to 60,000 Americans have been diagnosed as celiac, the federal government estimates there could be as many as 3 million undiagnosed. A gluten-free diet incorporating sorghum also has been adopted by many with autism, ADHD and irritable bowel syndrome, although research in this area is limited.

High in Antioxidants

In the U.S., there is a small, but growing market for sorghum in gluten-free foods. Sorghum is a substitute for wheat, for those requiring a gluten-free diet. White, food grade sorghums can be milled directly into whole-grain flour to produce foods such as cookies, cakes, brownies, breads, pizza dough, pastas, cereals, pancakes and waffles. The Japanese have used white, food grade sorghums in a variety of extruded snack food products.

The grain has been described as fairly neutral in flavor, and sometimes slightly sweet. There is anecdotal evidence that it enhances flavors and coupled with its neutral flavor, sorghum makes for very adaptable flour. Current research is examining sorghum’s glycemic index and antioxidant properties.

The Sorghum Checkoff is working with food companies across the U.S. to increase awareness about sorghum. Market development activities include reaching out to food media who are particularly interested in gluten free baking. The Sorghum Checkoff  is also developing relationships with major users of flour to encourage the use of sorghum flour in gluten free baking.

Sorghum Around the World

Globally, sorghum is used primarily as a human food product. Food products may include thick porridges, popped sorghum, fermented and unfermented flat breads, cooked and served as a whole grain, malted into both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, hard cookies, tortillas, and in some cases as an extruded commercial product.

Tips for gluten-free cooking with sorghum!