ChickP ramps up commercialisation of clean label chickpea protein

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

There is a booming plant-based foods industry in the US and pulses are galvanising alternative protein innovation. Pic: ChicP
There is a booming plant-based foods industry in the US and pulses are galvanising alternative protein innovation. Pic: ChicP

Related tags: ChickP, chickpea protein, plant-based

Israeli foodtech start-up ChickP Protein has swung into full commercial production of its 90% chickpea isolate.

The novel ingredient is a concentrated non-GMO, allergen-free chickpea protein isolate designed to provide a nutritional boost – along with the much desired boosted protein functionality – to an array of products, including baked goods and gluten-free treats.

ChickP said it has revved up consistent, stable production capacity to 20 metric tons per day, equating to more than 5,000 metric tons annually of the protein isolate.

ChickP was founded in 2016 by Ram Reifen, a paediatric gastroenterologist and a professor of human nutrition, on the basis of a patented technology developed after 20 years of research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His research is focused on fighting malnutrition in mothers and children with the use of chickpea protein isolates and chickpea starch.

“We have established a modern, BRC certified food facility, where we have applied proprietary technology for the production of high-value, clean-label chickpea protein,”​ said Ron Klein, CEO of ChickP.

“We’ve already attracted considerable interest from major food brands, and this month alone welcomed a number of production commitments from several new customers.”

Tapping North American demand

The company recently signed an agreement with Socius Ingredients in the US to jointly develop the North American market for plant-based innovations.

“Socius has exemplary protein application expertise and, with a state-of-the-art technical centre in Chicago, boasts strong connections to manufacturers of plant-based products,” ​added Klein.

“We’re strategising with Socius to explore the many creative possibilities for producing chickpea protein-based prototypes.”

The Good Food Institute (GFI) reports a booming demand for plant-based foods in the region. SPINS retail sales data on 3 March 2020 show that US grocery sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products have grown by nearly a third in the past two years, reaching $5bn in sales.

“The US is fast emerging as a key global player in meat and dairy alternatives,”​ said Itay Dana, who was recently appointed as VP of Sales and Business Development to lead these activities. Dana is a 15-year veteran in food engineering and biotechnology, formerly serving as VP of Marketing and business development at Equinom, director of New Technologies for Lycored, and head of Food Innovation at Galam.

“This market already is familiar with soy and pea proteins. However, these sources still cannot meet all the desired specifications for the broader spectrum of applications.

“Food companies are demonstrating an openness to try new plant-sourced protein contenders and the mighty chickpea is now gaining its due recognition and momentum.”

According to Conor Buckley, VP of Socius, ChickP’s offering sets a new standard for pure protein solutions. It has a number of beneficial attributes, “including a dense nutritional profile, neutral flavour and distinguished functional properties. We look forward to working with the ChickP team to bring the organoleptic and nutritional potential of chickpea to our customers.”

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