Product development and storytelling in the chickpea market

Chickpeas appeal to a wide range of consumers. They are not only healthy but also very versatile. You can find them in traditional hummus as well as many other creative recipes. Still, despite health food trends and growing demand for hummus, the chickpea market remains unpredictable. Because of this, companies use storytelling to separate themselves from the rest.

Many producers have seen the potential of chickpeas. But in the world market, the trendy chickpea consumer in Europe does not make much difference. India leads in global production and consumption. The country’s volumes have a big influence on global market dynamics. Surpluses and shortages result in price variations, and do not always result in an attractive profit. As a protein crop, chickpeas are more expensive than soybeans and common dry peas. So, how can you use chickpeas to follow trends in Europe? For several food companies, the answer is product variation and product development.

A big part of the market is still canned or dried chickpeas. But, product development can provide an opportunity for small innovative companies. A few companies have started to experiment with chickpeas in a variety of products. In particular, snacks seem to be popular. Brands successfully introduced to the European market include:

Sell your story

With the prospect of new chickpea consumers, it is a good idea to sell your story and not just your product. Many brands now use storytelling in their marketing. One example is the Three Farmers. This Canadian, farm-to-fork brand’s mission is to make chickpeas the Rockstar of snack foods. In the U.S., the founder of BIENA Snacks wants the nutrient-packed chickpeas of her childhood to become a standard snack for Americans. These examples are not from Europe, but they show what companies can do to give their products a story. There are not many examples from developing countries. Still, Fairtrade Original uses storytelling for their chickpeas. These chickpeas are produced and canned in India.

Avoiding an unpredictable market

Added value and storytelling may help you avoid the unpredictability of the market. As a chickpea producer, it may be a good idea to put your efforts into volumes of whole chickpeas and supply traders. However, you can still add value by making your chickpeas traceable and telling your story as a farmer. Several farmers did this in the promotional videos ‘These are my pulses’ during the International Year of Pulses in 2016. Telling your story like this gives the consumer a better idea of your product. This could help increase your chances in Europe.

Do you want to know more about how you can enter the European market? Read our study on entering the European market for chickpeas.

ICI Business wrote this news article for CBI.

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