Taly Nechushtan, InnovoPro: “Taking into account the recent trend of reducing animal products and food items that contain gluten, chickpeas can be an excellent alternative. Innovopro is the first in the world to launch chickpea protein 70%, an innovative chickpea protein with unique qualities, in order to provide the food industry with a valuable plant-based protein source. Through our unique process, our overall utilization of the chickpea will be close to 100%, and therefore completely aligned with sustainability and a zero-waste approach.”
Interview: Namık Kemal Parlak
The number of people who are vegans or flexitarian is growing. The artificial meat made from legumes is becoming extremely popular. Many top agricultural firms want to grab their share of the booming market for plant-based artifical meat. Cargill in August announced an additional $75 million investment in North American pea-protein producer Puris - which supplies Beyond Meat. However, the leading producers of innovative plant-based protein are startups. One of the innovative startups in the sector is InnovoPro, an Israel-based food technology company. Specializing in chickpea as a protein source, the company offers unique plant-based protein ingredients to the global food market to create nutritious, tasty, safe, and sustainable food products.
InnovoPro was among the startups invited to participate at the Bühler Networking Days, which was held August 26-28, 2019, in Uzwil. We spoke with Taly Nechushtan, InnovoPro’s CEO, on the booming plant-based market, their innovative products, and future objectives.
Ms. Taly Nechushtan, could you please provide us with some brief background information on InnovoPro and its activities?
Innovopro is the first in the world to launch chickpea protein 70% concetrate , an innovative chickpea protein with unique qualities, in order to provide the food industry with a valuable plant-based protein source. The chickpea protein is an innovative ingredient that enables formulating clean-label products with a short ingredient list, high-quality plant-based protein, without additives, and without compromising on taste, texture or appearance.
Can you share some information on growing plant-based protein market and your opinion about its future?
As consumers are beginning to steer towards a healthier lifestyle, the majority of the western population is now “flexitarian” or “reduciterian” and the vegetarian and vegan population is on the rise more and more. Consumers are trying to add plants based foods to their diet, lower their meat and dairy consumption and control their weight more efficiently. Consequently, food companies would like to lower their overall footprint and increase their offering of non dairy alternatives and meat analogues. However, there are inherent problems with the existing plant-based proteins such as soy and pea protein in regard to allerganicity and taste.
The global protein ingredient market is divided into two main sectors: animal-based proteins, from sources such as meat, egg and milk, and plant-based proteins from sources such as soy, wheat, peas and others. Most protein sources are on the market for many years and are commoditized. When considering the chickpea protein concentrate, the unique combination of qualities such as safety and clean label, mild taste, functionality and high nutritional value, are the major differentiators from market-available alternatives. Taking into account the recent trend of reducing animal products and food items that contain gluten, chickpeas can be an excellent alternative due to their high nutritional content.
Can you give us some information about the products you have in your range?
Currently we are offering CP-Pro 70® , chickpea protein concentrate. Soon to come also CP-Pro starch.
InnovoPro has introduced various healthy and innovative applications based on its CP Pro 70® to the market. What can you say about the solutions that you have brought to the food industry?
Innovopro has developed patent pending applications for several food products based on its chickpea protein. These applications may be used as substitutions for vital products such as dairy, mayoniasse and dressings products. We have an extensive application lab at our facility and our experts are constantly coming up with delicious and tasty formulations such as vegan ice-cream with only 6-8 ingredients, or crunchy and melting in the mouth gluten free vegan chocolate chips cookies.
We have several customers in Europe that have launched different applications using our CP -Pro70®, chickpea protein, such as in meal replacements powders in the UK, sweet spreads in the Czech Republic and non- dairy beverages and etc. The response has been very good. The consumers loved the creamy texture the neutral taste and the clean label with a short and natraulingredients list.
Your products received many awards from international institutions. What distinguishes your products from other plant-based products on the market?
Unlike other plant-based proteins, chickpea protein functions as an excellent emulsifier and a foaming agent to provide dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free food products with an airy and lightweight, but stable, texture. Chickpea protein is both light in colour and subtle in flavour, making it the perfect ingredient for many applications in the food and beverages industry. Our chickpea protein also enables the removal of texturizing agents in an innovative natural production process, without usage of additives. Furthermore, the chickpea protein is process-friendly for many industrial processes for preparing different applications, such as baking, homogenizing, extrusion, etc.
Through our unique process, our overall utilization of the chickpea will be close to 100%, and therefore completely aligned with sustainability and a zero-waste approach. Furthermore, Innovopro’s products are in-line with the end-consumer preferences and needs, with a unique combination of properties – tasty, functional, safe, and sustainable
Our product offers a unique combination of properties:
• High functionality – High emulsification that enables the creation of clean label products.
• High nutritional value - 70% chickpea protein.
• Highly digestible - PDCAAS of 0.8.
• Neutral taste that doesn’t require any or very little masking.
• Safety and sustainable – Green process, non-GMO, not listed as allergen.
Based on the above, Innovpro has secured grants from the EIT Food , Horizon 2020, the İsrael Innovation Authority as well as awards from Bridge2Food and FoodtechIL.
Are your products used in different industries besides the food industry?
There is an interest coming from the pahrma and cosmetic industries as well.
Where do you export your products?
We are shipping and selling globally while currently focusing on marketing our CP Pro 70®, chickpea protein concentrate in the European markets and the USA .
InnovoPro participated in Bühler Networking Days event in Uzwil Aug. 26 and 27, where global food industry leaders gathered. What kind of feedback did you receive at the event?
The Bühler event was an amazing opportunity to meet global potential customers and partners and to form new bussiness relationships. We received a lot of positive feedback and interest from customers that tasted our products and wanted to start to experimenting with our protein.
What are your future objectives in your field of operation? What are you likely to be investing in?
Innovopro will continue to form joint ventures, enlarge its customers base and develop more healthy ingredients for the food and beverage industry.