Big Food Companies Stuffing Everything With Pea Protein

Do you like peas? Soon, you might be gobbling them daily without even realizing it. Manufacturers are adding powdered pea protein to a surprising variety of foods. Crackers? Pasta? Chicken nuggets? They’ve all been made with powdered pulses: legumes like peas, lentils, and chickpeas. You might start seeing pulse powders in even more baked goods in coming years.

One pulse-infused product has already hit mainstream store shelves: some varieties of
Triscuit’s new rice-based crackers use red beans to increase the snacks’ protein and fiber, and to polish its health halo a little bit. Most Americans are at least a little health-conscious, but not so conscious that we’re going to do anything crazy like not eat Triscuits.

Or pasta. Americans just can’t eat enough protein, but if we can get it in the form of chickpea-infused spaghetti, that’s what we’re going to do. Barilla has put these on mainstream store shelves, too: the Barilla Plus line contains a blend of pulse flours meant to add more protein.

The powders can make a logical substitute for wheat flour and even eggs in food products. General Mills is using yellow pea protein in a variety of Larabar, and the

The biggest issue in using these products is texture and freshness. Using pulses reduces the shelf life on some products, and also can make them, well, kind of dry.

You Will Eat Your Peas Now as Big Food Binges on Protein [Bloomberg News]