Cham innovates plant-based ready meals and soups with new instant pulses and grains.
Cham Foods, a tomato and citrus powders manufacturer, has launched 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 is said to maintain the full flavour and texture of grains and legumes, answering the needs of established food companies, diet-meals start-ups, and innovative emerging brands.
The aim for developers to create plant-based ready-meals containing healthful legumes and grains is to showcase them in their wholesome complete forms. But 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.
Moran Avni, vice-president of business development at Cham Foods, explained: “Our RTE pre-cooked pulses and grains can easily be integrated into any instant hotpot, saving time and labour for both food companies and consumers, taking the instant meal concept to new heights. 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 1-5 minutes.”
Innova Market Insights reported an 11+% average annual growth in launches of RTEs featuring a vegan or vegetarian or plant-based or clean-label claim. The research group also noted 33% growth in global ready meals and soups launches featuring a clean-label claim in 2019, with 15% of global ready meals and soups launched featuring a vegan claim and 14% of global ready meals and soups launches featuring a vegetarian claim in that year.
Shay Shevi, CEO of Cham Foods, added: “The gap between consumers’ desire to eat wholesome, better-for-you foods and the ready meals they actually eat is huge. 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.”
Cham combines traditional methods with technologies to overcome challenges in crafting freeze-dried prepared ingredients in order to preserve their nutritional value. It also maintains the same textures and flavours of freshly made whole grains and legumes. Cham’s freeze-drying and pre-drying processes ensure the products are kept closest to fresh, without added ingredients. They have a long shelf life at ambient temperatures. The end product is about 30% of its original weight, and retains the original colour, shape, flavour, and nutritional value “better than with any other drying methods”, it added.
Ensuring farm-to-table quality and transparency, Cham starts in the field, working with select suppliers and growers, to bring consumers non-GMO, conventional or organic legumes and whole grains that comply with safety control standards.
“Our clean-label, plant-based product line contains a full complement of proteins, fibres, vitamins and minerals in one pot,” Avni concluded. “They’re ideal for flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans. We can provide the ingredients separately or create mixes tailor-made to client preferences. We can even customise the texture, making the legumes or grains turn out softer or firmer upon rehydration, as desired.”