Lotus Foods

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Lotus Foods
GenreNatural foods; Heirloom rice; SRI Rice
FounderKen Lee; Caryl Levine

Lotus Foods is a Richmond, California, based company that focuses on importing handcrafted rice from small family farms to the United States. The company was founded in 1995 by Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee. Their first and most popular product is Forbidden Rice.


The company was founded in 1995 by Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee, two years after they took a marketing research trip to China where they were served a bowl of black rice, something they never heard about before.[1][2]


Products include volcano rice, Madagascar pink rice, brown Mekong flower rice, forbidden rice, Bhutanese red rice, organic Carnaroli rice, organic jade pearl rice, organic forbidden rice, organic jasmine rice, and organic brown jasmine rice.[3]

Forbidden Rice[edit]

Forbidden Rice is Lotus Foods' trademarked name for a strain of Chinese black rice (Chinese: 黑米; pinyin: hēi mǐ) which is considered to be both food and medicine in China.[4] Forbidden Rice has a dark purple color because it is rich in anthocyanins and antioxidants.[5]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Lotus Foods has won multiple awards for their products as well as for their involvement in SRI rice.[6][7] In 2008 they were invited as panelists to discuss Food Security and Poverty at the Clinton Global Initiative alongside Madeleine Albright and representatives for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[8][9] In 2009 they were awarded Nutrition Business Journal's Environment and Sustainability Award for their SRI related work done in conjunction with Cornell University's SRI Global Marketing Partnership.[10] In their first year as a member of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) in 1998, Forbidden Rice became a Silver Finalist in the Outstanding New Product category of the annual sofi™ Awards competition. To date, the company has won nine sofi awards.[7]


  1. ^ http://www.lotusfoods.com/FarmersTerroir/OurMission.aspx
  2. ^ El Cerrito Focus "For the Love of Rice".
  3. ^ "Lotus Foods, Inc.: Private Company Information - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  4. ^ "Black Forbidden Rice". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants", American Chemical Society https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2010/august/black-rice-rivals-pricey-blueberries-as-source-of-healthful-antioxidants.html
  6. ^ Lotus Foods "Awards & Recognition".
  7. ^ a b "Lotus Foods: Changing the World One Grain of Rice at a Time | News". Specialty Food Association. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  8. ^ Clinton Global Initiative "Poverty Alleviation: Food Security and Poverty".
  9. ^ Video of Clinton Global Initiative Panel "Poverty Alleviation: Food Security and Poverty".
  10. ^ Nutrition Business Journal "2009 Environment and Sustainability Award: Lotus Foods".