Lupine beans, or lupins, are legumes that are popular in the Middle East, Europe, and all Mediterranean countries.
Because of their rich amino acid profile, lupins can be used as a meat substitute. Lupins are a great plant-based protein option because of their high protein and fiber content, and their low amount of carbohydrates.
While most of North America hasn’t caught on yet, manufacturers like CK Ingredients are working to make them more accessible and general.
The ingredients company offers LuPro Lupine, an item that has become one of the company’s top sellers. But success didn’t come overnight.
“CK has been dedicated to growing this market for six years. Innovation takes time to get to market and needs to be adaptable to be a solution to consumer problems that are difficult to articulate in the early days. ” Said Michael Chernyak, President of CK Ingredients. “Right now it’s our number 1 chance.”
The ingredient is pretty versatile and finds its way into everything from baked goods to snack bars to plant-based meat and smoothie mixes, to name a few.
So what’s holding the bean back?
“There is a general lack of awareness as well as a reference to the peanut family (allergen)”said Chernyak. “Until recently, no raw material supplier had done pioneering work – we are doing that now and awareness / interest is growing rapidly. ‘Free of’ companies are currently taking a passport, but we have a lot of projects with food companies that are peanut-approved. “
That being said, Colleen Madden, VP of Innovation at CK Ingredients, said that beans just don’t have sex appeal.
“To be honest, beans are (unfortunately) one of the least sexy foods. (Magic fruit, anyone?) That changes, but the change is slow. “remarked Madden.
“I think people are a little bit psychologically surprised only to find out that there is a bean they didn’t know about. I experimented with adzuki beans from Japan and fava beans from Persian cuisine 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until six years ago that I learned about lupine beans from Michael and yes, I was a little stunned. How did this exist (and thrive in Europe and Australia) without my knowing about it? And lupine also has many strange properties (nutritional value, capacity of antipasti platters, history, color, texture, etc.) that make it a little difficult to get to know. “said Madden.
As more and more customers “get to know” lupins, they seem to like it, especially the keto amount.
“It’s trending because it’s the only keto bean out there, and keto is still a big trend in the market. Plus, it’s an inexpensive substitute for almond flour, the latter being a popular ingredient in the keto arena. People are also looking for innovations in space – what’s next? Lupine ticks a lot of boxes – we see it as a real superfood. ” said Chernyak. “We have come to a point where we can articulate consumer wishes for claims / wording such as vegetable protein, high protein, high fiber, KETO, low net carb, diabetic friendly, low glycemic index, sustainable, superfood. Lupine is the healthiest of all beans in every respect. “
“Rescuer of strength”
“Lupins can be our savior from starch in formulations that make us healthier.” said Chernyak.
“I like to refer to LuPro Lupine as a ‘rebel bean’ because I see her as a freak of the bean world. We all know that beans are high in protein. They all have a lot of strength, which is fine, but not good if you’re interestedD while watching your net carbohydrates. Now that we’re in a ‘net carbohydrate conscious’ nutritional state, it’s fascinating that lupine has no starch: 40% protein, 30% fiber, 10% fat, 10% moisture, ~ 4% natural sugars, plus Ash (minerals) – no starch “,remarked Madden.
Don’t let it twist
While some are quick to refer to lupins as the next pea protein, Chernyak said not that quick.
“There is no comparison between apples and apples. We’re not trying to corner the vegetable protein market – we just want a place in the market. We believe that lupine beans will coexist with pea protein and other vegetable protein sources – that they will be used in combination to aid food developers in achieving nutritional / formulation goals,“Said Chernyak.
MarketWatch predicts that the global lupine protein market will grow 5.4% CAGR between 2020 and 2030.