Instant pulse and grain solution answers ‘unmet needs’ of food innovators


Meiron, Israel-based food ingredients specialist Cham Foods 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 aims to maintain the full flavour and texture of grains and legumes, which the company says enables it to answer “unmet needs” of food industry innovators.

Meeting challenges in RTE pulses and grains
The ideal for developers creating 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.

“Our RTE precooked pulses and grains can easily be integrated into any instant hotpot, saving time and labor for both food companies and consumers, taking the instant meal concept to new heights,” says Moran Avni, VP of business development of Cham Foods. “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 one to five minutes.”

Global RTE meal trends
Innova Market Insights reports an 11+% average annual growth in launches of ready-to-eat meals and soups (RTEs) featuring a vegan or vegetarian or plant-based or clean-label claim (Global, CAGR 2015-2019). 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.

Cham Foods says vegetarians and vegans too often end up in a “trade-off” between on-the-go eating and healthy eating.

Cham Foods says vegetarians and vegans too often end up in a “trade-off” between on-the-go eating and healthy eating.

“The gap between consumers’ desire to eat wholesome, better-for-you foods and the ready meals they actually eat is huge,” says Shay Shevi, CEO of Cham Foods. “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.” 

How it’s done
Cham combines traditional methods with sophisticated technologies to overcome challenges in crafting freeze-dried prepared ingredients in order to preserve their nutritional value. It also maintains the same textures and flavors of freshly made whole grains and legumes. Simply add hot water and they’re ready for consumption in minutes.

The company’s advanced freeze-drying and pre-drying processes effectively keep the products closest to fresh, without added ingredients. They enjoy 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 far better than with any other drying method.