Chickpeas: a snack with a protein blast

  • While a significant number of consumers view chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) exclusively as salad toppers and the main ingredient in hummus, if a growing number of snack suppliers have their way roasted chickpeas could become a pantry staple.
  • The crunchy bite-size beans boast high-fiber and high-protein claims and are a strong platform for both sweet and savory flavors. However, the success of the companies forging a path for these still fledgling snacks, might depend on how effective they are in their consumer-education and product-placement efforts.
  • At GlobalData Plc, Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director, notes consumers have complex perceptions when it comes to chickpea-based snacks. “In our 2017 Q1 survey, we asked consumers if they thought chickpeas would have a positive impact on health. Fifty-seven percent answered yes. The awareness bodes well for companies diving into the market,” she says.
  • What could be unsettling is that 10 percent of consumers surveyed by GlobalData were not familiar with the beans. “This shows that the makers of chickpea-based snacks cannot assume consumers know about the benefits,” explains Vierhile, “so there are consumer education issues with which to contend.”
  • Executive vice-president at Saffron Road Food, which claims to hold about one-third of the market, says the sector accounted for about $12 million in total sales in 2017, marking a 21 percent increase on 2016 dollar sales. He adds Saffron Road is showing a 40-percent increase in year-over-year dollar sales.

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