AUSTIN, TEXAS — In recent years, beans, lentils and chickpeas have emerged as popular ingredients in snack innovation. Such products claim to offer more protein and fiber per serving than conventional corn- and wheat-based chips, crackers and puffs.
Dubbed “the original bean chip,” Beanitos, which debuted in 2010, is introducing a new recipe and packaging. The brand’s reformulated tortilla-style chips have a lighter, crispier texture with 5 grams of plant-based protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving, plus antioxidants from polyphenols. The company sources whole black, pinto or white beans from farmers in Nebraska, Michigan, North Dakota and Colorado.
The new product features a “homemade” quality, said Giannella Alvarez, chief executive officer.
“The main difference is how we’re making masa … the masa comes from beans directly from the farm that are building to a dough, and that dough is then converted into chips,” Ms. Alvarez told Food Business News. “The way to think about it is it’s more homemade. It’s how you would make it at home. You would slow cook that masa, and then you would cut those chips and cook them.”
Beanitos chips contain no corn or gluten. Beans are listed as the first ingredient, followed by sunflower oil, rice flour, tapioca starch and seasonings. Varieties include classic flavors such as sea salt, hint of lime and ranch as well as bold combinations such as Sweet Chili and Sour Cream, Red Hot Cajun and Chipotle BBQ. A line of crunchy, baked snacks features flavors such as Jalapeño Con Queso, Fuego N’ Lime, Tangy Texas BBQ and Mac N’ Cheese.
The brand’s new packaging highlights the nutritional and environmental benefits of beans.
“We started doing a lot of learning and consumer research about nine months ago, looking at what people were interested in, and plant-based protein was at the very top of the food chain,” Ms. Alvarez said.
Beanitos products are sold nationwide in retailers, including Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Sprouts, Costco, Publix and Safeway. The reformulated products will soon be available online, too, Ms. Alvarez said.
“We were the pioneer, innovator, leader in this space,” Ms. Alvarez said. “Then other folks came in, and we embrace the fact other people believe this is the path forward, because that’s how to start transforming snacking into better-for-you snacking … then, we say, we need to continue to stay ahead of everybody.”