Secret to creamy dairy-free drinks: Chickpeas


ChickP, an alternative protein food-tech startup in Rehovot, Israel, has developed an advanced prototype of a chickpea-based milk analog.

The dairy-free creamer is made of protein isolates customized for trendy barista-style coffee drinks.

The company previously developed an egg replacer for vegan mayonnaise, also based on plain ol’ chickpeas — a rich source of high-quality protein.

ChickP, founded in 2016 by a pediatric gastroenterologist, uses a technology for producing chickpea protein developed and patented at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Accurately recreating flavor, texture and nutritional values in cow milk analogs with plant-based alternatives isn’t easy. Many plant proteins have bitter or off flavors, low protein content, and grainy or chalky textures. Adding taste-masking agents such as sugar or flavor modifiers is a turnoff for consumers.

“Plant-based barista drinks set new challenges,” explained Liat Lachish Levy, CEO of ChickP.

“Consumers want a holistic, better-for-you, yet full flavor experience. Our technologists took full advantage of our new state-of-the-art application lab to overcome organoleptic and technical challenges in creating creamy, dairy-free ‘milk’ for the perfect cappuccino.”

ChickP’s nondairy creamer prototype has a white color, neutral flavor, smooth texture and excellent foaming capabilities. The model plant-based barista milk contains 3% protein, while existing vegetable-origin barista products typically contain less than 1% protein.

According to The Good Food Institute, dairy-free milk represents 35% of plant-based food sales growth in the US market, at $2.5 billion in annual sales. Dollar sales of plant-based milk grew 20% in the past year, and 27% over the past two years.

“We currently are developing over 20 plant-based applications with leading food and beverage companies with our pure ChickP protein,” said Lachish Levy.