ChickP Protein, Ltd.’s patented chickpea isolate demonstrates its capacity to act as an exceptional plant-based protein alternative for cheese analogs. The food tech start-up has created prototypes of chickpea-powered cream cheese and firm cheddar cheese. Reportedly, the new product matches real dairy cheese in appearance, flavor and is highly nutritious.
ChickP states that its formulations will be instrumental in helping manufacturers fast-track customization of plant-based cheese products. The new cheese applications join the company’s line of plant-based alternative prototypes, including egg-free mayonnaise, ice-cream and chickpea-based barista coffee creamer.
According to a Smart Protein Project survey conducted in 10 countries, cheese is the leading animal-based food product, with individual consumption averaging in a range from one to six times per week. The same report indicates a strong willingness to shift to plant-based versions, but in conflict with an overall dissatisfaction with the taste, texture and value of products currently on the market. Still, the demand for plant-based cheese is growing exponentially and is expected to attain a market value of USD $7 billion by the end of 2030.
"Flexitarians dominate the consumer market for dairy alternatives," states Liat Lachish Levy, CEO of ChickP. "They are eager to eat vegan alternatives as long as those alternatives can level up to real dairy's sensory and nutritional attributes. These are precisely the gaps the industry is striving to close. While some cheese analog producers succeed on the sensory points, this often comes at the expense of the desired nutritional balance—and vice versa."
The start-up’s formula is based on its high-functioning chickpea isolate. With a 90% whole protein composition, the isolate reportedly provides a powerful and nutritional boost to plant-based food applications. The isolate is also clean-label and neutral in flavor, making it versatile to work with.
ChickP’s cream cheese formulation combines the isolate with a few simple ingredients, such as water, coconut oil and starch. Its tangy cheese-like flavor is obtained via fermentation with lactic bacteria, just like the traditional milk-based process. As a cultured product, it is naturally replete with probiotic benefits. The company also produces a chickpea-based firm cheese that delivers the flavor and chewy texture of cheddar cheese. It’s also produced via fermentation to achieve depth of flavor, firmness and natural probiotic benefits. Other developments to ChickP’s cheese portfolio include emmental, parmesan and mozzarella.