You’re hard-pressed to find a space undergoing more innovation right now than protein. Long gone are the days of steak and eggs being the best way to protein up. In addition to soy, whey, wheat, pea and even cricket-based protein varietals, there is also chickpeas.
Israel-based InnovoPro announced yesterday that it has raised a $4.25 million Series A funding round to power up production of its vegan chickpea protein powder. The round was led by Migros, Switzerland’s largest retailer, and Erel Margalit of Jerusalem Venture Partners.
InnovoPro says that its product, CP-Pro 70 chickpea protein, is Non-GMO, is not listed as an allergen, and is soy, dairy and gluten-free. The company also says its product can be used in a variety of hot or cold applications like egg-free mayonnaise, vegan ice cream, or vegan burgers.
Getting more protein in your diet can be fraught with ethical and environmental hurdles. Meat consumption isn’t great for the planet, while soy, almond and whey derivatives have their own negative environmental impacts as well. InnovoPro says that its production of chickpea protein “is green, clean and eco-friendly.” (It also doesn’t contain, you know, insects, which might be a turn off for
some many people.)
Regardless of whether that eco claim turns out to be completely true, InnovoPro is hitting the market at a good time. Plant-based food sales grew more than 20 percent over the past year, hitting $3.3 billion. In addition to the environmental and health reasons people may have moving to more of a plant-based diet, the plant-based products themselves have also gotten more palatable and delicious. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods both make an excellent, plant-based “burger,” Seattle Food Tech creates a convincing “chicken nugget” made from wheat protein, and Exo makes a protein bar made from crickets.
In addition to competition from other forms of protein, InnovoPro will need to fend off other established rivals in the same space, as Nutriati and ProEarth are already in the the chikpea protein biz.
Can InnovoPro carve out it’s own market amidst all this competition? We’ll know soon enough as the first products made with InnovoPro’s protein will hit the market next year.