Lotus Foods

Lotus Foods

Lotus Foods
Type Private
Genre Natural foods; Heirloom rice; SRI Rice
Founded 1995
Founders Ken Lee; Caryl Levine
Headquarters Richmond, U.S.
Website lotusfoods.com

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 were they were served a bowl of black rice, something they never heard about before.[1][2]


Since their formation in 1995 the company has added about 12 different kinds of heirloom rice from locations such as China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Madagascar to their product line. They also offer Forbidden Rice Flour[3] as well as Kaipen a Laotian snack made of algae and sesame seeds.

Forbidden Rice

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. The rice contains more vitamin B, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc than white rice. [5]

Awards and recognition

Lotus Foods has won multiple awards for their products as well as for their involvement in SRI rice.[6] In 2008 they were invited as panelists to discuss Food Security and Poverty at the Clinton Global Initiative alongside Madeline Albright and representatives for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[7][8] 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.[9] Lotus Foods' Forbidden Rice won the prestigious National Association for the Specialty Food Trade awards for "Outstanding Product Line" and "Outstanding Food Service Product".


  1. ^ http://www.lotusfoods.com/FarmersTerroir/OurMission.aspx
  2. ^ El Cerrito Focus "For the Love of Rice". 
  3. ^ NY Times Fabricant, Florence (2001-01-10). "Rice Flour: A Versatile Rainbow". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  4. ^ "Black Forbidden Rice". http://www.cooksinfo.com/black-forbidden-rice. 
  5. ^ "Black rice: Rare yet highly nutritious". http://www.naturalnews.com/039806_black_rice_antioxidants_health_benefits.html#. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Lotus Foods "Awards & Recognition". 
  7. ^ Clinton Global Initiative "Poverty Alleviation: Food Security and Poverty". 
  8. ^ Video of Clinton Global Initiative Panel "Poverty Alleviation: Food Security and Poverty". 
  9. ^ Nutrition Business Journal "2009 Environment and Sustainability Award: Lotus Foods".