Chickpea flour designed to mimic the taste and functionality of premium wheat flour debuted in North America last week, according to Food Business News. Artesa Chickpea Flour was launched by Nutriati, Inc., of Richmond, Virginia, and PLT Health Solutions, based in Morristown, New Jersey. Partnering with Nutriati is Tate & Lyle Ventures, the VC arm of London-based global agribusiness firm Tate & Lyle.
The new product contains resistant starch, 12% to 15% protein, and has a lower glycemic index than wheat or pulse flours, Food Business News reported. Nutriati uses a fractionation process to remove a large proportion of oil in the product, resulting in a more clean, neutral taste and a white color.
The two companies said that Artesa is made from chickpeas grown in the U.S. and Canada and processed here and is also gluten-free and non-GMO. The product will be displayed as an ingredient in four applications late next month at the Research Chefs Association conference in Savannah, Georgia.
This chickpea flour could be the game-changer its developers are claiming if it can deliver on all fronts: taste, mouthfeel, nutritional profile and functionality. Previous flours made from legumes and pulse crops have tended to taste like their sources — gritty and beany.
Compared to wheat flour, chickpea flour has fewer calories and carbohydrates and more protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database, one cup has 356 calories, 20.6 grams of protein, 6.1 grams of fat, 53.19 grams of carbs and almost 10 grams of total sugars. In comparison, whole-grain wheat flour and white all-purpose bleached and enriched flour have more calories and carbs but less protein, fat and sugars. Chickpea flour also contains more folate than whole-wheat flour and has vitamin B-6, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Artesia's developers say their chickpea flour will add important protein to gluten-free pastas, desserts and baked goods such as breads, and that it also binds with oil and water to make it a useful addition to soups, sauces and gravies.
According to Grand View Research, chickpea flour is the most popular among pulse-based flours, with a 30% market share last year. Pulse flours — made from beans, peas and lentils — are projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 12% through 2024.
The demand for gluten-free foods continues to grow, and manufacturers are getting better at incorporating ingredients that add to a product's nutritional benefits, texture and flavor profile. Reports show that nuts, pulses such as chickpeas, and ancient grains like buckwheat and quinoa are being added to more foods in an effort to remain gluten-free.
The market for such products is also expected to continue growing. According to Packaged Facts, U.S. sales of gluten-free products, estimated at $973 million in 2014, could exceed $2 billion by 2019. Artesa Chickpea Flour may be well-positioned to take full advantage of consumer interest and a welcoming marketplace.