Does the local chain have music for Flemish chickpeas?

The KIKET project, which conducts research on the local cultivation of chickpeas, is part of the Flemish government’s so-called protein strategy, which aims to make the production and consumption of proteins more sustainable and diverse. After all, proteins are an important component of human and animal nutrition. We get them from meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, but also from grains, legumes, and nuts.

As the current model of protein production and consumption is under pressure worldwide due to challenges in food safety, health and environmental impact, the Flemish government has allocated 3.5 million euros to realize its protein strategy. “The aim of the protein switch is to change the ratio of animal and vegetable proteins on our plate from 60/40 to 40/60,” says researcher Elena Leavens of Artevelde University College Kent.

Visit the local chickpea field

On July 8, Ordveld University College, together with KIKET partners, visited farmer Thomas Truen to visit his field with locally-sown chickpeas. While last year’s crop failed due to summer heat, this year seems to be heading for a good harvest. These local chickpeas will be processed into local chickpea products via ILVO FoodPilot and Greenyard, Abinda and Deltich processors. Delhaize will then examine how the customer reacts to this in multiple supermarkets. “With KIKET, we want to explore more specifically the willingness of the chain and the consumer to switch to Flemish chickpeas”, continues Lievens.

“We are also mapping the various applications and residual flows of chickpeas. For example, aquafaba, the cooking liquid of chickpeas, can act as a protein substitute. Meanwhile, besides hummus and falafel, chickpea flour, chips, cookies, pasta and drinks are available. In terms of the popularity of the products, the demand for chickpeas is increasing,” the researcher said. continues.

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Today we mostly import legumes of Mediterranean origin mainly from France, Canada, Turkey and Spain. “By investigating whether cultivation and processing in Flanders is profitable, we are helping to create a more sustainable chain.”

Ferdinand Woolridge

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