ChickP whips up flexitarian interest with “creamy and rich” chickpea ice cream
29 Nov 2022 --- Israeli start-up ChickP has developed a chickpea protein isolate designed for plant-based ice cream. The company joined forces with ice cream manufacturers Vaniglia to create a prototype of plant-based ice cream based on ChickP’s protein isolate, pegged to rival dairy equivalents in taste and creaminess.
Liat Lachish Levy, CEO of ChickP, explains to FoodIngredientsFirst why she believes chickpea protein is the ideal solution for attracting consumers to the plant-based market.
“Companies in the field of plant-based products must match consumer preferences in many areas, particularly sensory attributes – taste, texture, appearance and aroma – as well as nutrition and sustainability,” she flags.
“The main challenge was to address consumers who are not ‘strict’ vegans but rather flexitarians. These consumers look to reduce their animal-based food consumption but will not compromise on the full taste experience when it comes to plant-based foods.”
Levy lays out why she feels ChickP has overcome this challenge. “We at ChickP have developed a pure protein produced from chickpeas using our breakthrough IP technology,” she says.
“It has all the benefits without the downsides: high functionality, high nutrition value and sensory experience – neutral taste and smell. Thanks to that, we were able to overcome this challenge and provide a tasty, rich, and creamy textured ice cream using our protein isolate as the main ingredient.”
“As an expert in ice cream creation, ChickP’s plant-based ice cream succeeded in surprising even me,” adds Assaf Blank, CEO of Vaniglia. “It has a truly creamy and rich texture similar to dairy ice cream.”
Levy continues to tout the benefits of chickpea protein, including its dietary and industrial advantages.
“It is a non-allergenic, non-GMO and eco-friendly product,” she says. “Using our ChickP protein allows plant-based manufacturers to mimic this famous desert and give up most stabilizers and additives.”
Whereas many start-ups focus on prototypes or small batches of product, ChickP claims it can already produce at scale.
“Although we are a start-up, we already have commercial capabilities and can produce 5,000 metric tons per year, meaning we can support the world’s growing demand for chickpea protein. We have scale-up know-how consisting of holistic solutions,” continues Levy.
A green rainfed crop
With growing consumer demand for manufacturers to be environmentally conscious, Levy outlines why chickpea protein fulfills this demand and provides environmental benefits.
“Chickpea is a green rainfed crop that does not require large amounts of irrigation or fertilization,” she says.
“ChickP’s protein production requires less land, water and energy, cumulatively resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions. We are actively pursuing a zero waste goal by utilizing the entire chickpea seed, protein, starch, fibers, etc.”
Levy is confident chickpeas will make a suitable candidate for animal-free protein.
“Chickpea is considered a great source nutrition-wise, a full protein, meaning it contains all necessary amino acids, therefore can replace animal-based nutrition.”
One of the further benefits touted by ChickP is the added benefit to consumers with allergens and the potential for cleaner packaging.
Creating plant-based ice cream comes with its challenges as manufacturers look for ingredients that substitute guar gum, cellulose and modified starches as stabilizers, or technology that requires the end product not to have a long list of stabilizing ingredients.
ChickP removed various stabilizers and discovered that it didn’t affect the product’s shelf life and it even improved “scoopability”.
A question of taste
ChickP’s protein alternative comes when plant proteins are making great strides in converting traditional meat-eaters to plant-based offerings.
In attempting to solve the problem of mimicking the taste and texture of animal-derived proteins, many manufacturers are turning to hybrid proteins: combining two or more plant proteins to create the desired experience.
Indeed, many alternative protein manufacturers are beginning to see increasing investments and interest from the wider industry. Alternative ice creams, including vegan varieties, are increasingly in NPD.
By James Davies
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