What’s the alternative? Investing in chickpeas
The global food industry is one of the largest sectors in the world for obvious reasons. Everybody on earth – from richest to poorest, biggest to smallest – needs to eat.
However, it is a market that is at the mercy of global forces and those who produce food have to be acutely aware of the state of the wider world.
As with many industries, climate change is surely going to be the biggest challenge in the foreseeable future. Much of the globe is growing hotter – intolerably so in many areas – and this will make it impossible to grow many of the staple foods we rely on. We are entering an age of diminishing options and need to start developing alternatives as soon as possible.
One food which looks certain to take a leading role around the world is the humble chickpea. Whether we end up eating more chickpeas out of choice or necessity, it has many appealing characteristics. In a climate that is getting hotter and drier, the chickpea grows sustainably, is nutritionally dense and in most cases does not need more water than what falls naturally as rain. That last aspect in particular is increasingly desirable in a world where fresh water is becoming scarcer.
The chickpea contains proteins which are high quality, digestible and come in high quantities; it can be used as an emulsifier or binding agent to replace a variety of additives which are allergenic, additive based or artificial; it has a neutral taste and colour which makes it ideal for adding into other foods without consumers noticing a change.
It is estimated that the global plant-based protein market will see a compound annual growth rate of 6.7% until at least 2022, demonstrating the potential. Demand for a protein-rich diet is growing around the world, and an increasing number of people are also becoming more aware of the deleterious effects of meat production and consumption on the environment and the human body. Combined, the two factors mean plants like chickpeas are in higher demand than ever before.
With all of the above in mind, investing in chickpeas and the farmers who grow them might be a smart idea. The market is already growing rapidly and the crop’s versatility makes it a good bet for the future.