WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Ingredion, Inc. published a research brief highlighting the benefits of pulses in alternative protein applications.

The research compared consumer awareness of whey and soy with awareness of chickpea, lentil and pea. Ingredion also calculated each ingredient’s market readiness using four factors (likelihood to consume, appeal, meets protein needs and healthy perceptions/associations).

While soy earned top marks for consumer awareness, chickpea, lentil and pea scored higher on market readiness. Consumers were equally aware of whey and pea, but pea scored higher on market readiness. Among the three pulses, chickpea ranked highest for consumer awareness, and pea ranked highest for market readiness.

Pulses also have an advantage in delivering protein-rich nutrition without GMO and allergy concerns, which are among the top five consumer considerations for alternative proteins, according to Ingredion. Thirty percent of consumers ages 18 to 34 said they or someone in their household is avoiding soy.

Ingredion also found demand for alternative protein continued to grow in 2020, with three-quarters of consumers citing protein content as an important factor in food and beverage purchase decisions. Thirty-seven percent of consumers ages 18 to 34 said they ate more protein from plant sources in 2020 than in 2019.