USING CHICKPEAS TO MAKE FOOD BETTER? WE THINK IT'S A FABALOUS IDEA!
The United Nations predicts a global population of 9.7 billion within the next three decades, with animal product consumption expected to rise by more than 50% compared to current usage. If these projections are true, then it will mean one thing – food production simply won’t be able to keep up with demand. Thus, unless we make considerable changes to the way we produce and consume our food, the culinary future looks dire. At Coppola Foods, our primary focus is to provide healthy and sustainable food for all. So, when we discovered the impressive properties of chickpeas, we knew we were onto something. In fact, it set in motion the development of a range of Fabalous chickpea-based products, starting with our award-winning Hazelnut and Cocoa Chickpea Spread…
The need to change the way we produce and consume food
Both food production and consumption have massive impacts on the environment.
While farming techniques have improved over the years, agricultural expansion still places a heavy burden on ecosystems. According to the Climate Institute, an average of 52,000 square miles of forest are lost to deforestation every year. That is equal to 48 football fields of forest disappearing every minute!
In the same way, the pressure to increase food production, while still utilizing the same amount of resources, has led to an increase in intensive farming practices to the detriment of ethics. As an example, more than 80% of the eggs currently produced in the world are produced intensively.
When it comes to the production of food, the environment is not the only one that suffers. Our health is also on the line. Over the years, our diets have become increasingly unhealthy, and arguably our health is currently worse than ever before. For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the worldwide obesity rate has tripled over the last 45 years. And ironically enough, even though obesity is a preventable disease, it’s responsible for more deaths than hunger. It’s also getting more difficult to make the right, i.e. healthier, food choices. Sugar Science estimates that 74% of packaged foods contain added sugar. In food processing, sugar comes in many different forms, so it’s not always obvious when reading product labels. These “hidden” sugars can eventually lead to the development of childhood obesity.
With malnutrition remaining a global epidemic, and the significant environmental impacts caused by food production, there is no doubt that something needs to change. We need to make food that is both healthier and more sustainable. This inspired our team at Coppola Foods to cook up a Fabalous Idea.
Chickpea, the mighty legume
While looking into dairy and egg free food solutions we come across chickpeas and their impressive properties. Chickpea, with its high protein content, is an ideal source of plant-based protein in vegetarian and vegan diets. The quality of chickpea protein is superior to that of other legumes; it has significant amounts of all the essential amino acids except sulphur-containing amino acids, and is also a good source of several vitamins.
The benefits of chickpeas are not just limited to health. They have an impressive, and positive, impact on the environment too. Being a legume, chickpeas are able to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form usable as plant food. They do this via specialized bacteria hosted inside nodules, tiny little outgrowths, on their plant roots. These specialized bacteria, called rhizobia, have the ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen gas into a form that plants can utilize. Why is this beneficial? Because farmers spend tremendous amounts of money to replenish soil nitrogen stocks, using either organic or artificial fertilizers, that get depleted by agricultural crops. Therefore, chickpeas in sense fertilize their own soils. This dramatically reduces the need to add soil fertilizer.
Harnessing the power of chickpeas: from plant to product!
With the chickpea’s wonderful properties in mind, we strived to produce products that would be better for our health, while simultaneously minimizing environmental impacts. This led us to come up with an innovative production process to make a plant-based egg replacement (Aquafaba Powder) and a protein rich ingredient base (Chickpea Base).
Aquafaba literally means ‘bean water’ and refers to the liquid leftover from cooked chickpeas. Aquafaba Powder is this liquid dried to a powder. It is a 100% plant-based egg substitute that can be used in meringues, ice cream, mayonnaise, and other vegan products.
At Coppola Foods we make Aquafaba Powder via a proprietary production process with patent pending. Nothing in our Aquafaba Powder production process gets wasted. The exhausted chickpeas are upcycled, into a protein- and fiber-rich base that is suitable for use in spreads and gluten-free baking.
A better chocolate spread; good for you and for the planet
We use this chickpea base to make our Fabalous Hazelnut and Cocoa Chickpea Spread. A delicious combination of organic hazelnuts, cocoa, and chickpeas, it is the first hazelnut-chocolate spread to use chickpeas as the primary ingredient (32%), with each jar containing on average 128 dried chickpeas and 8 shelled hazelnuts.
Key to the creation of Fabalous was giving an everyday staple a healthier and more sustainable twist. There are just eight ingredients in each jar, all are organic, plant-based and natural. Fabalous switch out palm oil for sunflower oil and cocoa butter. Chickpeas are the main ingredient, resulting in 81% more protein, 43% less saturated fat and 57% less sugar than the leading brand in the category. The rich chocolatey hit comes from ethically sourced cocoa, paired with hazelnut paste, sweetened with cane sugar and rounded off with a pinch of salt. Finally, Fabalous is committed to plastic free packaging, with glass jars, metal lids and paper labels.
This award winning spread is the first product of a range of sustainable spreads, bars, and cookies we are developing at Coppola Foods using chickpeas to have less sugar and more protein than other competing products.
At Coppola Foods we strive to offer delicious, nutritious, and sustainable foods, and have been doing so for the past four generations. Our goal is to make good food better and we do that by innovating the food processes we employ and food products we make.
Our delicious Fabalous range of chickpea-based spreads can be enjoyed guilt-free. With more protein, less sugar, and its sustainability - it’s good for you AND the planet!
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About Coppola Foods
Coppola Foods is an innovative food company committed to making good food better.
We offer a comprehensive range of premium quality, tasty, nutritious and sustainable food products together with an excellent level of service and attentive solutions to fulfil the needs of customers and markets.
Our range of authentic Italian food products are cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet. This includes tomatoes, legumes, vegetable products, sauces, condiments and grain products.
We are a fourth-generation family business with a long heritage in the production and marketing of food products, dating back to 1903 in Salerno, in Southern Italy.