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Chickpeas take over the cheese aisle: ChickP Protein develops plant-Based cheese with whole protein

ChickP Protein's groundbreaking chickpea-based cheese prototypes match the flavor and appearance of traditional cheese, offering a nutritional boost to plant-based food.

Israel-based food tech start-up, ChickP Protein, Ltd., has developed a chickpea isolate that can be used in making plant-based cheese, and the prototypes for chickpea-based cream cheese and firm cheddar cheese match the appearance and flavor of conventional cheese. This groundbreaking development is expected to make waves in the dairy alternatives market.

The rise of plant-based diets has resulted in increased demand for plant-based alternatives to dairy products. According to a survey conducted by the Smart Protein Project across ten countries, cheese is a popular food item with individual consumption averaging from one to six times per week. The findings show there is also strong interest in plant-based versions, but consumers say taste, texture, and value of products currently on the market don’t meet their expectations. Still, demand for plant-based cheese is expected to reach $7 billion by the end of 2030.

ChickP Protein’s chickpea isolate is a high-functioning ingredient with a 90 percent whole protein composition, providing a nutritional boost to plant-based food applications. The isolate is also a clean-label ingredient, with a neutral flavor, which the company says makes it highly versatile. The new cream cheese formulation combines the isolate along with other simple ingredients and traditional cheesemaking processes that ChickP says make the resulting product naturally replete with probiotic benefits.

“We insisted on applying only traditional processes for our winning cheese analogs,” explains Maor Dahan, application manager for ChickP. “Our formulas contain no stabilizers or gums. We explored a range of cultures to find the strains that work best with our formula. On top of that, the synergy between the chickpea isolates and starch helped create a rich, smooth, creamy textured spread on par with real dairy cream cheese and awards hearty complete protein fulfillment.”

ChickP’s formula has led to the creation of chickpea-based cream cheese and firm cheddar cheese that match the appearance and flavor of conventional cheese, addressing the sensory gaps in current dairy alternatives. While some cheese analog producers succeed on the sensory points, this often comes at the expense of the desired nutritional balance — and vice versa.

“Flexitarians dominate the consumer market for dairy alternatives,” Liat Lachish Levy, CEO of ChickP, said in a statement. “They are eager to eat vegan alternatives as long as those alternatives can level up to real dairy’s sensory and nutritional attributes. These are precisely the gaps the industry is striving to close.

Emmental, parmesan, and mozzarella are among the types of cheese ChickP is looking to produce in the future. This achievement in chickpea protein could have huge implications for the food industry, as it provides a viable and tasty alternative to dairy cheese.

This recent development comes after ChickP’s successful launch of chickpea ice cream and creamer prototypes. ChickP Protein’s ice cream product contains 70% chickpeas, offering an alternative that is higher in protein and fiber and lower in sugar and calories than traditional ice cream. The chickpea creamer is made from chickpea protein concentrate, which has a neutral flavor and a smooth texture.

The success of these plant-based innovations has resulted in ChickP Protein raising an $8 million Series A funding round last January, allowing the company to continue to develop and launch new products. ChickP’s focus on developing innovative plant-based products that match the taste and texture of traditional dairy products is sure to attract those seeking alternatives to traditional animal-based products. The chickpea protein could revolutionize the dairy industry, providing a new plant-based alternative that will appeal to consumers and offer the nutritional benefits that plant-based products are known for.

ChickP’s latest achievement in creating chickpea-based cheese that mimics the flavor and texture of dairy cheese is poised

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