Ingredion Incorporated, a global provider of ingredient solutions to the food manufacturing industry, announced the signing of an exclusive commercial distribution partnership with InnovoPro, a Foodtech chickpea solutions company, to distribute a chickpea protein concentrate in the US and Canada. 

The distribution partnership, effective immediately, will increase the availability of chickpea protein while helping food and beverage manufacturers meet growing consumer demand for plant-based products that deliver on sustainability, nutrition, taste, texture and functionality. 

The alliance follows Ingredion’s February 2022 announcement outlining its equity investment in InnovoPro to bring the benefits of chickpea protein to more consumers. 

“This collaboration allows us to broaden our plant-based portfolio with an alternative that’s high in consumer recognizability and appeal,” said Yadu Dar, Ingredion’s global business development director for plant-based proteins. “InnovoPro’s solvent-free processing method will enable a 70% chickpea protein concentrate — providing food and beverage manufacturers with a new way to meet consumer demand for clean label, plant-based products that are sustainably sourced.”

"We are looking forward to this great and important partnership with Ingredion," said Taly Nechushtan, chief executive officer of InnovoPro. "Our vision to transform the way people eat, by enabling the creation of tastier, healthier and more sustainable food choices is getting one step closer to realization, as we join forces with Ingredion. A variety of solutions based on our chickpea protein will reach a broader market and support our growth trajectory.”

Chickpea protein is extracted from chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) — a high-protein, nutritious legume that’s recognized and consumed globally. According to Innova Market Insight’s recent report, Top 10 Trends of 2022: Plant-Based: The Canvas for Innovation, plant-based positionings have grown by 53% globally over the last five years, with chickpea proteins up from zero launches in 2017 to 1.2% penetration within plant-based products in 2021. The report also states that health and sustainability are top drivers for consumers choosing plant-based alternatives. 

A recent proprietary study commissioned by Ingredion revealed that chickpea proteins have above-average awareness when compared to plant-based alternatives — and are perceived to be one of the healthier options of the varieties tested. In formulations, chickpea protein offers a neutral color and flavor profile and emulsification properties that impart a rich, creamy mouthfeel — making it ideal for a broad range of applications, including dairy and meat alternatives, bakery goods and beverages.