New chickpea processing technology using precision fermentation that changes chickpeas to make them useful as egg replacements has been patented in India. The Indian food ingredient company Supplant Foods has received a patent for its enhanced chickpea protein that has physical properties similar to those of eggs and dairy used in bakery.  

For many years, vegans have been already using chickpea flour to make egg-less Spanish-style omelettes, but this new chickpea flower will capitalise on this by changing its flavour and colour and making it better as an egg replacement in other types of foods. The company has created four different egg replacement blends depending on what formulators want to replace eggs in, such as cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and biscuits. Reconstituting them with water, manufacturers can recreate ingredients with similar foaming, emulsion, and gelling properties to eggs.

Chirag Sabunani, founder of Supplant Foods, told Food Ingredients First, “We use proprietary precision techniques to identify and remove those natural components in our raw materials (in this case chickpea) that inhibit protein function (emulsions, foams and gels) and those that impart flavour. We also work extensively on the supply side of the raw material, controlling aspects of the upstream processing and cultivation of the chickpea itself to achieve the functionality and flavour reduction that gets us to the levels replacing dairy and egg proteins. By maximizing the potential of the chickpea proteins, which is part of our intellectual property (IP) and working with the rest of the components in the chickpea to maximize their relevance for food applications, we are now able to substitute eggs and dairy in various food items, particularly bakery where a lot of eggs and dairy are used.”

Using chickpeas is much better for the environment too. Not only does the egg industry have a higher carbon footprint than the cultivation of pulses, but chickpeas can fix soil nitrogen and benefit the soil, which was also a driver for the company to select this plant.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.