Cham Foods releases pulse and grain-based instant meals24 Nov 2020
Israeli based Cham Foods has engineered a line of dry, ready-to-eat pulse- and grain-based instant meals. These new instant meals and soups contain legumes and grains that when hot water is added retain the shape and texture and take only minutes to make rather than requiring a multi-step preparation period characteristic of these plant-based protein sources. Cham also stated that its instant pulse and grain products do not lose their nutritional value as a result of freeze-dried processing.
With the addition of hot water and a five minute wait time, these instant meals that feature both lentils and quinoa have a “cooked ‘just now’ taste” and contain their full nutritional value. “Consumers perceive many dry RTE meals as cheap, unhealthy, or ‘artificial’. Our mission is to change this perception and bring innovation to the table,” Cham Foods CEO Shay Shevi said in a statement.
Not only is the company looking to change consumer perception surrounding the health of freeze-dried meal options, but it is looking to prove that such a preservation method can result in quality products.
To achieve a product that is both instant and prevents the overcooking of grains and legumes, Cham used a pre-drying process prior to freeze-drying to keep the products close to their natural state while also making it possible to store the products on shelves at an ambient temperature for long periods.
Cham said in a statement that the end product is about 30% of its original weight and retains the original color, shape, flavor, and nutritional value “far better” than other drying methods.
The company pointed out that the products appeal to both time-pressed consumers as well as vegetarians and vegans. Cham cited data from Innova Market Insights that launches of ready-to-eat meals and soups (RTEs) featuring a vegan or vegetarian or plant-based or clean-label claim had an annual compound annual growth rate of 11% between 2015 and 2019. Other data backs up this claim. A report by Packaged Facts found that for adults under the age of 25 there is a 10% greater likelihood that they will eat dry packaged dinners, dinner mixes and kits.
By launching this product, Cham hopes to close the “huge” gap between consumers shopping for better-for-you plant-based items but that are also searching for instant convenience. Using its proprietary freeze-drying technique and optimizing products for personalized nutrition profiles, the company hopes to cater to a wide demographic of consumers. “We can provide the ingredients separately or create mixes tailor-made to client preferences. We can even customize the texture, making the legumes or grains turn out softer or firmer upon rehydration, as desired,” Moran Avni, the company’s vice-presidents of business development said in the statement.
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