KANSAS CITY – The versatile chickpea showed up in a wide range of new products in 2021. Applications included pizza crust, meat alternatives, keto-friendly snacks, waffles, oatmeal, plant-based cheese and many others. 

Props must be directed toward the trend forecasters as Whole Foods Market who predicted chickpea would be a trending ingredient in 2021. In late 2020, they asked if chickpea would be the next cauliflower and predicted the ingredient would start showing up in applications like tofu, flour and cereal.

A year later, even Whole Foods’ trends team may be surprised at how food product developers embraced the positive attributes chickpeas have to offer.

Chickpeas are pulses in that they are dry, edible seeds of plants in the legume family, according to the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, Moscow, Idaho. Chickpeas specifically have two-and-a-half times more iron than chicken and three times more folate per serving than kale, according to the council.

Product developers like the ingredient because it has a neutral flavor profile that makes it an attractive source of plant protein. The ingredient pairs well with both sweet and savory flavors and has a more neutral color than other pulses.

View the slideshow of innovation featuring chickpea.