As consumers seek healthier alternatives to everyday foods, more and more snacks are being reformulated to contain pulse ingredients. In fact, 7% of all snack food launches in North America in 2020 contained pulses including peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans. Pulses are gluten-free, nutrient-dense, plant-based ingredients that contribute to an improved sustainability profile in snack foods and extruded products.
For example, breakfast cereal reformulated to include 15% Canadian pea flour or Canadian lentil flour had improved Nutrient Balance Scores* and greenhouse gas emissions.
Pulse ingredients can be extruded into healthy, desirable snacks with a crispy, aerated textural quality and improved bioavailability of nutrients. Due to the dynamic nature of the extrusion process, there are many possible formulations and processes that can be adapted when directly expanding pulse flours alone (at 100%) or in combination with other grains and pulse fractions (e.g. protein, fibre or starch).
For example, 100% yellow pea flour and blends containing other ingredients such as lentil flour, pea starch, and pea hull fiber have been evaluated in both puff and crisp type processes.
Important properties to consider when using pulses in snack formulation include:
- Particle size distribution
- Protein content
- Water holding capacity
- Starch content
- Fibre content
- Pasting properties
- Thermal properties
- Amylose:amylopectin ratio
- Gelling properties
Have questions about using pulses in snacks? Our team has a range of expertise from nutrition to functionality.