- ChickP, Ltd., a food tech startup based in Israel, has introduced a line of chickpea isolates designed for plant-based dairy alternatives. According to a company release, faculty from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed the products and use patent-pending technology to extract up to 90% pure protein from the chickpeas.
- The chickpea isolates aim to help alternative dairy producers overcome processing challenges and increase consumer acceptance, the company said. Plant-based alternative dairy products using the chickpea isolate offer similar taste, mouthfeel and nutritional profile as cow's milk and yogurt, according to the release. It also limits the use of additives — artificial flavors, coloring, emulsifiers and masking ingredients — so it has shorter and cleaner labels.
- CEO Ron Klein said in the release the company scaled up production last month and is ready to market the ingredient to alternative dairy product makers and dairy companies.
By offering a product that has more protein and can more closely replicate food made with cow's milk, ChickP may be able to take advantage of the booming dairy alternatives market.
Global launches in the category are three times higher than food and beverage launches in general, according to Innova Market Insights data the company cited in its release. Beverages lead the dairy alternatives category, the research group said, with global launches comprising more than 8% of all dairy launches in 2017.
Interest in chickpeas may be growing as the ingredient begins to show up in a variety of foods. Banza, which uses the legume in its pasta, recently raised $20 million to expand its personnel, supply chain, marketing and product offerings. The company said its pasta has almost twice the protein, three times the fiber and a third fewer net carbs than traditional pasta.
Banza co-founder Brian Rudolph also told Food Navigator the brand is the fastest selling pasta at Whole Foods and Target, signaling a clear demand from many consumers. Chickpeas are also making their way into snacks from chips to puffs.
Other companies are also capitalizing on the growth of plant-based dairy beverages. The Swebol Biotech food technology firm has collaborated with Swedish and Bolivian scientists to develop a patented quinoa powder and quinoa milk and plans to launch both in South America in the near future.
Despite the plant-based trend's popularity, many plant-based proteins are challenged by the bitter taste they can have after the protein is extracted. ChickP noted in its release that its product offers a more neutral taste, which could be an advantage as more manufacturers experiment with the segment.
While more time is needed to see if these unique products can successfully compete with those made from oats, almonds and other plant sources, they could draw more consumers if they can deliver the nutritional punch as claimed at a competitive price.