It’s always exciting when you hear food and tech collide. No, not in the messy my-keyboard-is-fried sort of way, but revolutionary. ChickP, a foodTech startup developing innovative plant proteins, announced its newest launch of next-gen chickpea isolates. This ground-breaking plant protein was specially designed for plant-based dairy alternative products and developed by the faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The patent-pending technology can extract up to 90 percent pure protein out of the chickpea seed.
So, what does this mean to the plant-based dairy industry? According to the press release, the new chickpea isolates offer exceptional beneficial characteristics that help alternative dairy producers overcome challenges in processing as well as boosting consumer acceptance and fulfilling the demand for highly nutritious and tasty products.
“We tested the chickpea ingredient across a range of parameters, including functionality, flavor, nutrition profile, and protein content,” said Ram Reifen, MD, Founder, and CSO of ChickP. “Sensory parameters such as taste, color, and texture are the key factors for success in launching any new product in the marketplace. Plant-based milk alternatives that contain ChickP have been shown to mimic cow’s milk and yogurt better for taste, mouthfeel, and nutritional value.”
Thanks to the neutral flavor ChickP protein contains, additional sugars or flavor additives aren’t needed like most other plant-based proteins. Mouthfeel is a big contributor for most people’s experience in determining whether they want to continue consuming the product, but ChickP hits it on the head with its strong, smooth texture and emulsion stability. As for nutrition, ChickP powder contains 90 percent protein, ≤8.0 percent moisture (the drier the better), and less than 0.1 percent fat.
By using less artificial or preservative ingredients, ChickP protein allows for shorter, cleaner labels. And with rising demand and diversity in dietary needs, ChickP avoids most common allergens such as dairy, soy, and tree nuts. Chickpea allergies are exceedingly rare, and ChickP proteins are non-GMO and does not contain phytoestrogens.
“We scaled up our processing production in October 2019 and we are set to market the ingredient to alternative dairy companies as well as to dairy companies that are seeking high-quality protein options,” added Ron Klein, CEO of ChickP. “ChickP answers the current market needs for safe and nutritious dairy products without flavors, sugars, colorants, or artificial ingredients, while addressing environmental and ethical concerns.”
When Reifen isn’t moonlighting as ChickP, he’s a Pediatric Gastroenterologist and a Professor of Human Nutrition as well as the Director of the Center for Nutrigenomics and Functional Foods at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He has served as a committee member for WHO; led multiple studies involving chickpea cultivation, formulation of chickpea-based weaning foods in developing countries, as well as immunological studies related to the legume; and applies his strong scientific background in health, nutrition, environment, and food-tech to continue research toward alleviating malnutrition.
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