Israeli foodtech startup ChickP raises dairy-free ice cream to new heights
ChickP Protein, a food-tech startup, has introduced chickpea protein isolate for plant-based ice cream. Protein from this ancient crop zeroes in on the non-dairy category to make a tasty plant-based frozen dessert with a creamy mouthfeel just like dairy ice cream.
Everyone loves ice cream. Ice cream is a joyful treat that evokes indulgence, and comfort. But many consumers are not able to enjoy eating ice cream due to lactose sensitivity or intolerance, or dairy allergies. Moreover, many consumers are trending away from animal-derived products. In addition, sustainability and ecology concerns are driving many consumer purchases. There are plant-based ice creams on the market, but they lack the true, creamy texture of dairy ice cream.
It's not just vegetarians demanding plant-based options. According to recent research by The Smart Protein project in Europe, flexitarians are driving the plant-based food sector - 36% of flexitarians stated they intend to consume more plant-based dairy products. And more than 30% of flexitarians eat plant-based ice-cream or sorbet at least 1-3 times per month. The chickpea legume is becoming more and more popular. More than 40% of flexitarians noted they would like to see chickpeas as the main ingredient in plant-based foods. For flexitarians, it is all about flavor and health when choosing a plant-based foods.
Mimic the Sensation
ChickP developed a prototype of plant-based ice cream with its protein isolate in co-operation with VANIGLIA, Ltd., a premium international ice cream chain headquartered in Israel. VANIGLIA advocates traditional methods for making ice cream, collecting fresh produce, and using 100% natural ingredients without artificial colors or preservatives. "As an expert in ice-cream creation, ChickP plant-based ice cream succeeded in surprising even me," said Assaf Blank, VANIGLIA CEO. "It has a truly creamy and rich texture similar to dairy ice cream."
Liat Lachish Levy, CEO, ChickP: "Our ChickP Isolate ingredient answers consumers' growing demand for vegan products with a dairy-like experience. Consumers, especially flexitarians, have become much pickier when choosing a frozen indulgence and will not compromise on flavor or mouthfeel. Our biggest challenge was to develop a solution that would appeal to broader populations, to give the consumer the full sensory experience of real dairy ice cream. When we started the project, the goal was to create a non-dairy ice cream that tastes, looks, and feels like the real thing."
Maor Dahan, Application Manager, ChickP: "Our ChickP protein portfolio is highly functional and versatile and can even allow for the creation of a mascarpone-like texture in a plant-based ice cream. We were able to imitate the exact rich, uniquely creamy taste and texture of mascarpone. Chickpeas are not listed as allergens and our products are non-GMO, making them an ideal choice for replacing dairy proteins."
When developing an ice cream application, ChickP's protein isolate provides important functionalities, such as emulsion stability, prevention of icing and crystallization, and the creation of an ideal melting profile. These constitute the key parameters for maintaining a frozen dessert's indulgent properties throughout its shelf life. It also provides exceptional whipping capabilities, with a neutral fresh taste suitable for merging any desired flavor.
Cleaning the Label
Creating dairy-free ice cream is highly challenging. Many such products contain a list of additives, such as guar gum, cellulose, derivatives, and modified starches. "Our protein has an important role in stabilizing the ice cream and creating the desired smooth texture," explains Dahan. "During development, we removed various stabilizers one by one and, surprisingly, it did not affect the product's shelf life, and it even improved the scoopability of the product. This allows a shorter, cleaner ingredient list."
"The unique functionality of the ChickP isolate, as demonstrated in ice cream, can also be used for other applications in the non-dairy categories, such as firm and cream cheeses as well as yogurts, which typically require stabilizers," adds Lachish Levy.