10 Nov 2020 — Global tomato and citrus powders manufacturer Cham Foods is launching a line of dry, ready-to-eat (RTE) pulses and grains for instant meals and soups to fill the demand for a quick, nutritious meal at home or on-the-go.
The new line maintains the full flavor and texture of grains and legumes, tapping into demand from food companies, diet-meals start-ups and emerging brands.
Overcoming challenges in RTE pulses and grains
The ideal for developers creating plant-based ready-meals containing healthful legumes and grains is to showcase them in their wholesome complete forms.
However, most pre-cooked legumes and grains undergo long, multi-step preparation that leaves them overcooked and looking smashed. Instant-meal manufacturers often resort to offering noodles or pastas instead.
“Our RTE pre-cooked pulses and grains can easily be integrated into any instant hotpot, saving time and labor for both food companies and consumers, taking the instant meal concept to new heights,” says Moran Avni, vice president of business development of Cham Foods.
“Whether opting for lentils or quinoa, the pulses look like they were cooked ‘just now,’ taste good, and contain their full nutritional value. All that’s needed is to add hot water and wait for one to five minutes.”
Global RTE meal trends
Innova Market Insights reports an 11 percent average annual growth in launches of RTEs meals and soups featuring a vegan or vegetarian or plant-based or clean label claim (Global, CAGR 2015-2019).
The market researcher also noted 33 percent growth in global ready meals and soups launches featuring a clean label claim in 2019, with 15 percent of global ready meals and soups launched featuring a vegan claim.
Meanwhile, 14 percent of global ready meals and soups launches featured a vegetarian claim in that year.
In today’s time-pressed world, consumers seek quick, ready-to-eat options. But too often, vegetarians and vegans end up in a trade-off between “on-the-go” eating and healthy eating.
RTE makers recognize this challenge, especially when it comes to traditionally slow-cooked foods such as pulses and whole grains, the primary, ideal sources of vegetarian protein.
“The gap between consumers’ desire to eat wholesome, better-for-you foods and the ready meals they actually eat is huge,” says Shay Shevi, CEO of Cham Foods.
“Consumers perceive many dry RTE meals as cheap, unhealthy, or ‘artificial.’ Our mission is to change this perception and bring innovation to the table. This is especially crucial during these times, with fewer people dining out, which has led to high demand for hot, wholesome meals that are easy to access.”
Combining traditional methods with technologies
Cham combines traditional methods with sophisticated technologies to overcome challenges in crafting freeze-dried prepared ingredients to preserve their nutritional value.
It also maintains the same textures and flavors of freshly made whole grains and legumes. Once hot water is added, they are ready for consumption in minutes, the company notes.
Cham’s advanced freeze-drying and pre-drying processes effectively keep the products closest to fresh, without added ingredients.
They enjoy a long shelf life at ambient temperatures. The end product is around 30 percent of its original weight, and retains the original color, shape, flavor, and nutritional value far better than with any other drying method.
Guaranteeing farm-to-table quality and transparency, Cham starts in the fields, working with select suppliers and growers to bring consumers high-quality, non-GMO, conventional or organic legumes and whole grains that comply with the highest safety control standards.
“Our clean label, plant-based product line contains a full complement of proteins, fibers, vitamins, and minerals in one pot,” adds Avni.
“They’re ideal for flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans. We can provide the ingredients separately or create mixes tailor-made to client preferences. We can also customize the texture, making the legumes or grains turn out softer or firmer upon rehydration, as desired,” he concludes.
Edited by Gaynor Selby
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