We're collaborating with farmers to bring the world's smallest grain to Australian consumers.

We’re developing a range of snacks using teff.

We’ve all heard of quinoa and its touted health benefits, but there’s another ancient gluten-free grain that’s about to make waves. It’s called teff, and it’s been a favourite in Ethiopian cooking for centuries.

Teff is the world’s smallest grain, and research shows that its fibre content is several times higher than wheat or rice. It also contains resistant starch. Its protein content is similar to wheat and it’s higher in iron than the more widely used grains. It’s also good source of calcium and other minerals. To top it off, it contains no allergens.

Riverina farmers, Fraser and Shane McNaul, started growing teff to diversify their cropping program so that it’s more sustainable and innovative. Teff’s growing season is short, from around December to March, and it fits neatly in between their usual crops of wheat, barley, corn and rice. By the time it’s harvested, teff looks like tall grass and the grain is so small it’s hard to hold it in your hand because it almost just runs through your fingers.

The McNauls started a company, Outback Harvest, and we’re collaborating with Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL) to help them develop teff-based snacks and baked goods for retail markets around Australia.

With our expertise in food science and new product development, we have developed prototype muffins, bread and dry cake mixes. We also produced extruded teff snacks in our world-class pilot-scale food innovation centre in Werribee, Victoria.

When it’s milled, the brown teff produces a darker coloured flour that has a chocolate-like flavour, ideally suited to a product like muffins. The ivory teff produces lighter coloured flour with a nutty flavour, making it perfect for pancakes!

Fraser has moved to Melbourne to concentrate on developing packaging, marketing and distributing the first retail products, which have been endorsed as gluten-free by Coeliac Australia and Coeliac New Zealand. He is considering expanding into other value-adding opportunities such as snack bars, tortillas and flat breads.

Look out for brown and ivory teff foods soon.

Food Innovation Centre

Our food innovation centre has a track record of helping food manufacturing companies innovate.


  1. Injera is the best! Eat it with any stew and it will make it taste better. I haven’t tried making my own yet, my maybe I’ll have to now 🙂

  2. It would be great for Coeliacs, but it would not be gluten free being grown on the same farm as wheat and barley.

    1. Hi Naomi,
      The Outback Harvest products are tested for gluten and are endorsed by Ceoliac Australia and New Zealand. The teff is kept separate and does not come into contact with any other grains grown on the farm.
      CSIRO Social Media

  3. What do you mean “it contains no allergens”? My (admittedly limited) understanding is that potentially any protein can be an allergen.

    1. Hi Patrick,
      We asked the scientist involved to clarify and they provided this response:
      “It is true that any protein can be an allergen for a certain individual. However, there are no known allergens from Teff grain so far.”
      CSIRO Social Media

  4. Great. When can we get it in Perth

    1. Hi Peter,
      Outback Harvest currently deliver Australia wide. Health food stores may be your best bet.
      CSIRO Social Media

  5. Keep up the good work people. You’re national treasures!

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