Wheatberries and red rice have been tipped as the next big things in grains and pulses.

Speciality food supplier Leathams said supermarket sales of its Merchant Gourmet Camargue red rice and wheatberries products had more than doubled in the past year.

The company had recorded a 135% leap in year-on-year sales of red rice and “equally impressive growth” for its wheatberries range, which suggested shopping habits were changing, said Leathams head of retail Sanjay Davda.

“Only a few years ago these particular grains and pulses were a well-kept secret, but demand is accelerating and it will be interesting to see what 2013 holds,” he added.

The new grains had a range of possible applications, including salads and ready meals, he said. Wheatberries - whole unprocessed wheat kernels - were high in fibre, low in calories and “packed with vitamins and minerals” and their sweet nutty flavour made them suitable for use in sweet and savoury dishes or as an alternative to rice and pasta.

Camargue red rice, meanwhile, is also said to have a nutty flavour, and firm, chewy texture. The outer bran layers are left intact, which gives the rice its unusual red colour.

This summer, the company launched a range of ready-to-eat pulses and grains in pouches, including wheatberries, under the Waitrose Love Life brand.

The growing popularity of wheatberries and Camargue red rice follows the success of quinoa, which has grown 36.9% in value sales and 34.7% in volume [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 25 November 2012].

Chia seeds - which have a high omega-3 content and are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals - are also taking off. suppliers await EU Advisory Committee approval to use it in products other than bread.