Launched in August 2014 by brothers Brian and Scott Rudolph, Banza - pasta made from chickpeas - promises to rival the taste and texture of regular wheat pasta, but has twice the protein and four times the fiber.
Now non-wheat-based pasta is not new, acknowledges Banza, noting the wave of rice, quinoa, soy and corn-based products already on shelf. The problem is that they don’t match the taste or texture of the real thing, and are still seen by many consumers as niche items for people avoiding gluten.
Banza, by contrast, happens to be gluten-free [ingredients: chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, xanthan gum], but is aimed squarely at mainstream consumers who are looking for pasta with fewer empty carbs and more nutrition, but are not prepared to compromise on taste or texture (no mushy pasta).
Says marketing chief Avery Hairston: “The fact we’re getting picked up by stores such as Meijer, Shoprite and Fairway as well as Sprouts and Eataly also shows that we have a broader appeal. We’re competing with Barilla and De Cecco, not so much the ‘alternative’ pastas.”
The Detroit-based company is also thinking big, he says: “It’s not just about pasta for us. Longer term, we want to do what Hampton Creek Foods has done with eggs (replacing them with plants) but with wheat, rice and corn.”
Click HERE to read our recent interview with Banza.