In today’s food culture, chickpeas go beyond the traditional hummus spread, varying from savory snack items like Biena’s Chickpea Puffs to Delighted By Hummus’ brownie batter hummus – unconventional seems to be the norm in a world of product innovation for food.
With the recent rise in alternative chickpea snacks, companies are finding new ways to incorporate comfort food to health-conscious consumers.
The company Banza has seemed to have found the right balance. After launching their chickpea pasta line five years ago, They claim to be the fastest selling pasta brand at Whole Foods and to be among the top 50 most sold pasta brands in the US. This has led the legume-rich brand to debut its latest creation, chickpea rice.
“Similar to what we did in pasta, we’re excited to upgrade an equally popular staple food,” said Brian Rudolph, co-founder, and CEO of Banza. “We’re so grateful for Whole Foods’ partnership in helping us bring more nutritious rice to more people.”
The Banza brand’s innovative rice has the same intention as their previous pasta line: making a healthier version of customers’ favorite food items. Their latest chickpea rice supposedly offers 30 percent fewer carbs than brown rice and quinoa, packing three times the protein and double the fiber. Similarly, their chickpea-based penne, spaghetti, and rotini all contain more protein and fiber than regular pasta.
The alternative rice flavors come in original Chickpea and Tricolor Legume, a variation of green pea rice, lentils and chickpeas.
The health food startup was created by two brothers, Brian and Scott Rudolph, in 2014. Since then, their products have been sold in more than 11,00 stores in the US.
According to Technavio’s market research report, the global value of chickpeas is forecasted to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent between 2018 and 2022.
The popularity of chickpeas has grown because it is an easy-to-make food item that’s loaded with fiber and nutrients, making it a favorable snack item in many parts of the world. There are multiple factors as to why this legume is growing in popularity.
“Apart from increasing consumption of chickpeas as a snack, other factors boosting the growth of the global chickpea market are expanding base of the vegan population, growing online grocery shopping trends, and increasing awareness of the health promoting benefits of chickpea,” reported an analyst of the Global Chickpea Market Report.
In addition to this, the report indicates chickpea flour is also gluten-free, creating leverage among consumers who are prone to grain intolerance. It’s also proven to be a healthier alternative to regular flour since it contains a high amount of dietary fiber which can decrease gut inflammation and increase the overall health of immune function.
Chickpea flour is also quite versatile when it comes to baking, it can be used as a replacement for eggs in vegan recipes as well as a thickening agent in curries and soups. With its prominent health benefits and its use as a highly adaptable ingredient, the food industry will likely be seeing product innovators experiment more with this plant seed.