Fava Beans: Is the humble fava bean the next big thing in plant-based?

Fava Beans: Is the humble fava bean the next big thing in plant-based?

By
Louise Burfitt
June 1, 2021

🍽️ What is it?

  • The humble fava bean is nothing new: also known as the broad or faba bean, this little bean is the produce of the flowering plant Vicia faba.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • But now plant-based meat makers, snack gurus and even the EU government are re-considering this simple bean, wondering if its protein-rich attributes and the ease with which it grows could make it something worth investing in. 
  • Packed with protein and flavour-neutral, the fava bean could provide a solution to the world’s need for protein and the growing popularity of plant-based foods.

💡 How did it start? 

  • Fava beans have been grown for human consumption for centuries - they’re thought to have first become part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BCE.

🤷 Why?

  • Soy used to lead the pack when it came to alternative protein sources. But soy had a bad spell with consumers when it came under fire for being generally genetically modified and grown using heavy pesticides. The trend for sustainable consumption means many are looking for an alternative.
  • Fava beans have plenty of nutritional benefits that make them a great choice for use in vegan meats and protein-rich snack foods and help when over health-conscious consumers. Plant-based meats have on occasion been criticised for their lack of nutritional goodness, and makers are therefore hunting for something with a more wholesome profile. Enter fava.
  • Of course, nutrition isn’t the only important factor when it comes to manufacturing and selling food. Taste and texture are very important to consumers, particularly where plant-based alternatives are concerned. Here, the fava bean excels too: it’s neutral in taste, so is well-suited to mimicking other products like eggs, milk or meat. When processed in a certain way, fava beans retain their colour and a pleasing texture and don’t display the bitter off-notes associated with pea protein.
The all mighty Fava Bean

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • There’s a few distinct ways the fava bean hype is shaping up. First: as an alternative to much-maligned soy in plant-based meats. In the Netherlands, BOON are making plant-based meats with fava while the Sarno brothers are innovating in plant-based tuna with their fava-based Good Catch products. 
  • The texture of fava beans also makes them a good choice for plant-based mince: Finland’s Gold&Green Foods and Norway’s Flowfood are both working on this niche. 
  • Finnish market leader Verso Food has recently been granted a patent for their innovation in fava bean protein extraction: the process is called wet extrusion and is used to produce their popular Beanit products.
  • And it’s not just meat substitutes - fava beans can also work a treat in other plant-based alternatives. Plant-based milk using fava? Tick! French startup Update Foods are working on just that. Also in the alt dairy sector, Halo Top include fava protein in their dairy-free ice creams while Stockeld Dreamery are innovating with their fava-based feta. Meanwhile, Univar Solutions have pinpointed the fava bean as a key ingredient in their egg alternative.
  • A handful are also working directly on plant-based proteins using fava beans: see Roquette in France and VESTKORN in Denmark. 
  • Leaving the plant-based industry aside for a minute, let’s turn to the CPG market. Better-for-you snack makers are recognising the advantages of fava when coming up with new recipes for their energy bars and bites. Fava beans are a fantastic addition as a rich source of protein. UK-based snack brands PROFUSION and The Happy Snack Company alongside Lupii and Fava Foods in the USA are all using fava beans to pack extra proteins into their products.
  • Meanwhile, EIT Food - an independent EU organisation - has been engaging in the Favuleux Project in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Roquette to promote the fava bean as a high-quality sustainable source of plant-based protein. The project is developing a fava bean production pipeline, which will include both supply chain modelling and an assessment of its economic viability as an ingredient.
View the database of 20+ Companies using Fava Beans here

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

📈 The figures

  • The global fava bean market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% between 2021 and 2026.
  • In 2019, the market was estimated to be worth $3.1 billion.
  • 2 million tonnes of fava beans are currently produced every year across the EU and the UK, with cultivation hotspots in Northern France and England.

 

Source: Stockeld Dreamery

 🧀 Case study: Stockeld Dreamery

  • Stockeld Dreamery, until recently known as Noquo Foods, are a Swedish startup in the business of making delicious, artisan plant-based cheese using fermented fava and pea protein.
  • Their first product is a 100% plant-based version of feta and launched in stores and foodservice channels in Stockholm this May. 
  • The cheese is made using just 7 ingredients, including the protein-rich fava bean. This creamy recipe makes for a nut-free cheese, a rare outlier in the dairy-free cheese market - making it an awesome choice for anyone with a nut allergy. 
  • The inclusion of fava beans help make the cheese alternative, branded as Stockeld Chunk, nutritionally equivalent to real feta, with about 13% protein content.
  • Head of strategy Daniel Ruben told Ag Funder News: ‘This is a solid first step towards our first vision: To create a cheese that is superior in taste and nutrition, constantly striving to use our planet’s resources wisely, accessible to all yet one of the top preferred cheeses by chefs and restaurants. Simply put, the world’s most ambitious cheese.’
  • Future plans for the company include using their proprietary blend of proteins, the result of two years of R&D, to create a plant-based cream cheese. They also hope to branch out into other alternative cheeses.

 

Source: Nestle

🕴 Case study: Nestle

  • It’s not just small upstarts getting in on the fava action - big-name corporations are eager to join the fava fun too. 
  • Via its brand Sweet Earth Foods, Nestlé launched its own fava-based, reformulated plant-based burger and new vegan Jumbo Hot Dogs in the US this spring.
  • The Sweet Earth Awesome Burger 2.0 is a new version of the brand’s original Awesome Burger, with an updated recipe that combines hemp, fava beans and pea protein for a ‘beefier’ texture. 
  • The new Jumbo Hot Dogs are made using hemp and protein from fava beans along with pea protein as its base containing 19g protein per serving.
  • The company cited increased demand for plant-based options as one of the main factors driving the relaunch.
  • And the Swiss company are even looking at including fava beans in their pet food offering, citing sustainability concerns.

👍 The good

  • Fava beans are easy on the environment compared to the alternatives (looking at you, soy) and can be grown in a wide variety of climates. That’s really good news given the growing popularity of plant-based diets. 
  • In fact, growing fava beans at scale might even help the climate: the plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning they improve soil health, and also require few pesticides and fertilisers while growing as a result.
  • The sesame-free nature of fava beans, as compared to chickpeas, make the fava bean a great alternative in plant-based products for those allergic to sesame.
  • And perhaps best of all for the maker of plant-based proteins and alt meats? Fava beans have none of the taste issues associated with pea protein or the health uncertainties of soy. 

👎 The bad

  • A rare allergy to fava beans affects around 1 in 50,000 people, but is most common in those of Mediterranean descent and Sub-Saharan Africans. Known as favism, this hereditary disorder means those affected may develop a blood disorder after eating the beans. Uncommon but worth knowing about for those in the fava bean sector.
  • Fava is known as an ‘orphan crop’, alongside lentils, chickpea and quinoa, which means it’s under-researched and low-yielding as it’s cultivated using outdated agricultural methods. More research and development into fava will be needed if it really is to replace soy in the plant-based pecking order.

💡 The bottom line

  • The great nutritional benefits, pleasing taste and texture and environmental pros of the fava bean mean it really is well-placed to take on soy, particularly in the plant-based arena. 
  • Overall, fava as an alternative protein source looks commercially promising, but  a whole lot more research and funding across the food value chain is needed into this underrated ingredient.

How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

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🍽️ What is it?

  • The humble fava bean is nothing new: also known as the broad or faba bean, this little bean is the produce of the flowering plant Vicia faba.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • But now plant-based meat makers, snack gurus and even the EU government are re-considering this simple bean, wondering if its protein-rich attributes and the ease with which it grows could make it something worth investing in. 
  • Packed with protein and flavour-neutral, the fava bean could provide a solution to the world’s need for protein and the growing popularity of plant-based foods.

💡 How did it start? 

  • Fava beans have been grown for human consumption for centuries - they’re thought to have first become part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BCE.

🤷 Why?

  • Soy used to lead the pack when it came to alternative protein sources. But soy had a bad spell with consumers when it came under fire for being generally genetically modified and grown using heavy pesticides. The trend for sustainable consumption means many are looking for an alternative.
  • Fava beans have plenty of nutritional benefits that make them a great choice for use in vegan meats and protein-rich snack foods and help when over health-conscious consumers. Plant-based meats have on occasion been criticised for their lack of nutritional goodness, and makers are therefore hunting for something with a more wholesome profile. Enter fava.
  • Of course, nutrition isn’t the only important factor when it comes to manufacturing and selling food. Taste and texture are very important to consumers, particularly where plant-based alternatives are concerned. Here, the fava bean excels too: it’s neutral in taste, so is well-suited to mimicking other products like eggs, milk or meat. When processed in a certain way, fava beans retain their colour and a pleasing texture and don’t display the bitter off-notes associated with pea protein.
The all mighty Fava Bean

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • There’s a few distinct ways the fava bean hype is shaping up. First: as an alternative to much-maligned soy in plant-based meats. In the Netherlands, BOON are making plant-based meats with fava while the Sarno brothers are innovating in plant-based tuna with their fava-based Good Catch products. 
  • The texture of fava beans also makes them a good choice for plant-based mince: Finland’s Gold&Green Foods and Norway’s Flowfood are both working on this niche. 
  • Finnish market leader Verso Food has recently been granted a patent for their innovation in fava bean protein extraction: the process is called wet extrusion and is used to produce their popular Beanit products.
  • And it’s not just meat substitutes - fava beans can also work a treat in other plant-based alternatives. Plant-based milk using fava? Tick! French startup Update Foods are working on just that. Also in the alt dairy sector, Halo Top include fava protein in their dairy-free ice creams while Stockeld Dreamery are innovating with their fava-based feta. Meanwhile, Univar Solutions have pinpointed the fava bean as a key ingredient in their egg alternative.
  • A handful are also working directly on plant-based proteins using fava beans: see Roquette in France and VESTKORN in Denmark. 
  • Leaving the plant-based industry aside for a minute, let’s turn to the CPG market. Better-for-you snack makers are recognising the advantages of fava when coming up with new recipes for their energy bars and bites. Fava beans are a fantastic addition as a rich source of protein. UK-based snack brands PROFUSION and The Happy Snack Company alongside Lupii and Fava Foods in the USA are all using fava beans to pack extra proteins into their products.
  • Meanwhile, EIT Food - an independent EU organisation - has been engaging in the Favuleux Project in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Roquette to promote the fava bean as a high-quality sustainable source of plant-based protein. The project is developing a fava bean production pipeline, which will include both supply chain modelling and an assessment of its economic viability as an ingredient.
View the database of 20+ Companies using Fava Beans here

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

📈 The figures

  • The global fava bean market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% between 2021 and 2026.
  • In 2019, the market was estimated to be worth $3.1 billion.
  • 2 million tonnes of fava beans are currently produced every year across the EU and the UK, with cultivation hotspots in Northern France and England.

 

Source: Stockeld Dreamery

 🧀 Case study: Stockeld Dreamery

  • Stockeld Dreamery, until recently known as Noquo Foods, are a Swedish startup in the business of making delicious, artisan plant-based cheese using fermented fava and pea protein.
  • Their first product is a 100% plant-based version of feta and launched in stores and foodservice channels in Stockholm this May. 
  • The cheese is made using just 7 ingredients, including the protein-rich fava bean. This creamy recipe makes for a nut-free cheese, a rare outlier in the dairy-free cheese market - making it an awesome choice for anyone with a nut allergy. 
  • The inclusion of fava beans help make the cheese alternative, branded as Stockeld Chunk, nutritionally equivalent to real feta, with about 13% protein content.
  • Head of strategy Daniel Ruben told Ag Funder News: ‘This is a solid first step towards our first vision: To create a cheese that is superior in taste and nutrition, constantly striving to use our planet’s resources wisely, accessible to all yet one of the top preferred cheeses by chefs and restaurants. Simply put, the world’s most ambitious cheese.’
  • Future plans for the company include using their proprietary blend of proteins, the result of two years of R&D, to create a plant-based cream cheese. They also hope to branch out into other alternative cheeses.

 

Source: Nestle

🕴 Case study: Nestle

  • It’s not just small upstarts getting in on the fava action - big-name corporations are eager to join the fava fun too. 
  • Via its brand Sweet Earth Foods, Nestlé launched its own fava-based, reformulated plant-based burger and new vegan Jumbo Hot Dogs in the US this spring.
  • The Sweet Earth Awesome Burger 2.0 is a new version of the brand’s original Awesome Burger, with an updated recipe that combines hemp, fava beans and pea protein for a ‘beefier’ texture. 
  • The new Jumbo Hot Dogs are made using hemp and protein from fava beans along with pea protein as its base containing 19g protein per serving.
  • The company cited increased demand for plant-based options as one of the main factors driving the relaunch.
  • And the Swiss company are even looking at including fava beans in their pet food offering, citing sustainability concerns.

👍 The good

  • Fava beans are easy on the environment compared to the alternatives (looking at you, soy) and can be grown in a wide variety of climates. That’s really good news given the growing popularity of plant-based diets. 
  • In fact, growing fava beans at scale might even help the climate: the plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning they improve soil health, and also require few pesticides and fertilisers while growing as a result.
  • The sesame-free nature of fava beans, as compared to chickpeas, make the fava bean a great alternative in plant-based products for those allergic to sesame.
  • And perhaps best of all for the maker of plant-based proteins and alt meats? Fava beans have none of the taste issues associated with pea protein or the health uncertainties of soy. 

👎 The bad

  • A rare allergy to fava beans affects around 1 in 50,000 people, but is most common in those of Mediterranean descent and Sub-Saharan Africans. Known as favism, this hereditary disorder means those affected may develop a blood disorder after eating the beans. Uncommon but worth knowing about for those in the fava bean sector.
  • Fava is known as an ‘orphan crop’, alongside lentils, chickpea and quinoa, which means it’s under-researched and low-yielding as it’s cultivated using outdated agricultural methods. More research and development into fava will be needed if it really is to replace soy in the plant-based pecking order.

💡 The bottom line

  • The great nutritional benefits, pleasing taste and texture and environmental pros of the fava bean mean it really is well-placed to take on soy, particularly in the plant-based arena. 
  • Overall, fava as an alternative protein source looks commercially promising, but  a whole lot more research and funding across the food value chain is needed into this underrated ingredient.

How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

🍽️ What is it?

  • The humble fava bean is nothing new: also known as the broad or faba bean, this little bean is the produce of the flowering plant Vicia faba.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • But now plant-based meat makers, snack gurus and even the EU government are re-considering this simple bean, wondering if its protein-rich attributes and the ease with which it grows could make it something worth investing in. 
  • Packed with protein and flavour-neutral, the fava bean could provide a solution to the world’s need for protein and the growing popularity of plant-based foods.

💡 How did it start? 

  • Fava beans have been grown for human consumption for centuries - they’re thought to have first become part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BCE.

🤷 Why?

  • Soy used to lead the pack when it came to alternative protein sources. But soy had a bad spell with consumers when it came under fire for being generally genetically modified and grown using heavy pesticides. The trend for sustainable consumption means many are looking for an alternative.
  • Fava beans have plenty of nutritional benefits that make them a great choice for use in vegan meats and protein-rich snack foods and help when over health-conscious consumers. Plant-based meats have on occasion been criticised for their lack of nutritional goodness, and makers are therefore hunting for something with a more wholesome profile. Enter fava.
  • Of course, nutrition isn’t the only important factor when it comes to manufacturing and selling food. Taste and texture are very important to consumers, particularly where plant-based alternatives are concerned. Here, the fava bean excels too: it’s neutral in taste, so is well-suited to mimicking other products like eggs, milk or meat. When processed in a certain way, fava beans retain their colour and a pleasing texture and don’t display the bitter off-notes associated with pea protein.
The all mighty Fava Bean

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • There’s a few distinct ways the fava bean hype is shaping up. First: as an alternative to much-maligned soy in plant-based meats. In the Netherlands, BOON are making plant-based meats with fava while the Sarno brothers are innovating in plant-based tuna with their fava-based Good Catch products. 
  • The texture of fava beans also makes them a good choice for plant-based mince: Finland’s Gold&Green Foods and Norway’s Flowfood are both working on this niche. 
  • Finnish market leader Verso Food has recently been granted a patent for their innovation in fava bean protein extraction: the process is called wet extrusion and is used to produce their popular Beanit products.
  • And it’s not just meat substitutes - fava beans can also work a treat in other plant-based alternatives. Plant-based milk using fava? Tick! French startup Update Foods are working on just that. Also in the alt dairy sector, Halo Top include fava protein in their dairy-free ice creams while Stockeld Dreamery are innovating with their fava-based feta. Meanwhile, Univar Solutions have pinpointed the fava bean as a key ingredient in their egg alternative.
  • A handful are also working directly on plant-based proteins using fava beans: see Roquette in France and VESTKORN in Denmark. 
  • Leaving the plant-based industry aside for a minute, let’s turn to the CPG market. Better-for-you snack makers are recognising the advantages of fava when coming up with new recipes for their energy bars and bites. Fava beans are a fantastic addition as a rich source of protein. UK-based snack brands PROFUSION and The Happy Snack Company alongside Lupii and Fava Foods in the USA are all using fava beans to pack extra proteins into their products.
  • Meanwhile, EIT Food - an independent EU organisation - has been engaging in the Favuleux Project in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Roquette to promote the fava bean as a high-quality sustainable source of plant-based protein. The project is developing a fava bean production pipeline, which will include both supply chain modelling and an assessment of its economic viability as an ingredient.
View the database of 20+ Companies using Fava Beans here

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

📈 The figures

  • The global fava bean market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% between 2021 and 2026.
  • In 2019, the market was estimated to be worth $3.1 billion.
  • 2 million tonnes of fava beans are currently produced every year across the EU and the UK, with cultivation hotspots in Northern France and England.

 

Source: Stockeld Dreamery

 🧀 Case study: Stockeld Dreamery

  • Stockeld Dreamery, until recently known as Noquo Foods, are a Swedish startup in the business of making delicious, artisan plant-based cheese using fermented fava and pea protein.
  • Their first product is a 100% plant-based version of feta and launched in stores and foodservice channels in Stockholm this May. 
  • The cheese is made using just 7 ingredients, including the protein-rich fava bean. This creamy recipe makes for a nut-free cheese, a rare outlier in the dairy-free cheese market - making it an awesome choice for anyone with a nut allergy. 
  • The inclusion of fava beans help make the cheese alternative, branded as Stockeld Chunk, nutritionally equivalent to real feta, with about 13% protein content.
  • Head of strategy Daniel Ruben told Ag Funder News: ‘This is a solid first step towards our first vision: To create a cheese that is superior in taste and nutrition, constantly striving to use our planet’s resources wisely, accessible to all yet one of the top preferred cheeses by chefs and restaurants. Simply put, the world’s most ambitious cheese.’
  • Future plans for the company include using their proprietary blend of proteins, the result of two years of R&D, to create a plant-based cream cheese. They also hope to branch out into other alternative cheeses.

 

Source: Nestle

🕴 Case study: Nestle

  • It’s not just small upstarts getting in on the fava action - big-name corporations are eager to join the fava fun too. 
  • Via its brand Sweet Earth Foods, Nestlé launched its own fava-based, reformulated plant-based burger and new vegan Jumbo Hot Dogs in the US this spring.
  • The Sweet Earth Awesome Burger 2.0 is a new version of the brand’s original Awesome Burger, with an updated recipe that combines hemp, fava beans and pea protein for a ‘beefier’ texture. 
  • The new Jumbo Hot Dogs are made using hemp and protein from fava beans along with pea protein as its base containing 19g protein per serving.
  • The company cited increased demand for plant-based options as one of the main factors driving the relaunch.
  • And the Swiss company are even looking at including fava beans in their pet food offering, citing sustainability concerns.

👍 The good

  • Fava beans are easy on the environment compared to the alternatives (looking at you, soy) and can be grown in a wide variety of climates. That’s really good news given the growing popularity of plant-based diets. 
  • In fact, growing fava beans at scale might even help the climate: the plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning they improve soil health, and also require few pesticides and fertilisers while growing as a result.
  • The sesame-free nature of fava beans, as compared to chickpeas, make the fava bean a great alternative in plant-based products for those allergic to sesame.
  • And perhaps best of all for the maker of plant-based proteins and alt meats? Fava beans have none of the taste issues associated with pea protein or the health uncertainties of soy. 

👎 The bad

  • A rare allergy to fava beans affects around 1 in 50,000 people, but is most common in those of Mediterranean descent and Sub-Saharan Africans. Known as favism, this hereditary disorder means those affected may develop a blood disorder after eating the beans. Uncommon but worth knowing about for those in the fava bean sector.
  • Fava is known as an ‘orphan crop’, alongside lentils, chickpea and quinoa, which means it’s under-researched and low-yielding as it’s cultivated using outdated agricultural methods. More research and development into fava will be needed if it really is to replace soy in the plant-based pecking order.

💡 The bottom line

  • The great nutritional benefits, pleasing taste and texture and environmental pros of the fava bean mean it really is well-placed to take on soy, particularly in the plant-based arena. 
  • Overall, fava as an alternative protein source looks commercially promising, but  a whole lot more research and funding across the food value chain is needed into this underrated ingredient.

How did you like today's Trends?

Love it 😁 Meh 😐 Hate it 🙁

🍽️ What is it?

  • The humble fava bean is nothing new: also known as the broad or faba bean, this little bean is the produce of the flowering plant Vicia faba.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • But now plant-based meat makers, snack gurus and even the EU government are re-considering this simple bean, wondering if its protein-rich attributes and the ease with which it grows could make it something worth investing in. 
  • Packed with protein and flavour-neutral, the fava bean could provide a solution to the world’s need for protein and the growing popularity of plant-based foods.

💡 How did it start? 

  • Fava beans have been grown for human consumption for centuries - they’re thought to have first become part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BCE.

🤷 Why?

  • Soy used to lead the pack when it came to alternative protein sources. But soy had a bad spell with consumers when it came under fire for being generally genetically modified and grown using heavy pesticides. The trend for sustainable consumption means many are looking for an alternative.
  • Fava beans have plenty of nutritional benefits that make them a great choice for use in vegan meats and protein-rich snack foods and help when over health-conscious consumers. Plant-based meats have on occasion been criticised for their lack of nutritional goodness, and makers are therefore hunting for something with a more wholesome profile. Enter fava.
  • Of course, nutrition isn’t the only important factor when it comes to manufacturing and selling food. Taste and texture are very important to consumers, particularly where plant-based alternatives are concerned. Here, the fava bean excels too: it’s neutral in taste, so is well-suited to mimicking other products like eggs, milk or meat. When processed in a certain way, fava beans retain their colour and a pleasing texture and don’t display the bitter off-notes associated with pea protein.
The all mighty Fava Bean

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • There’s a few distinct ways the fava bean hype is shaping up. First: as an alternative to much-maligned soy in plant-based meats. In the Netherlands, BOON are making plant-based meats with fava while the Sarno brothers are innovating in plant-based tuna with their fava-based Good Catch products. 
  • The texture of fava beans also makes them a good choice for plant-based mince: Finland’s Gold&Green Foods and Norway’s Flowfood are both working on this niche. 
  • Finnish market leader Verso Food has recently been granted a patent for their innovation in fava bean protein extraction: the process is called wet extrusion and is used to produce their popular Beanit products.
  • And it’s not just meat substitutes - fava beans can also work a treat in other plant-based alternatives. Plant-based milk using fava? Tick! French startup Update Foods are working on just that. Also in the alt dairy sector, Halo Top include fava protein in their dairy-free ice creams while Stockeld Dreamery are innovating with their fava-based feta. Meanwhile, Univar Solutions have pinpointed the fava bean as a key ingredient in their egg alternative.
  • A handful are also working directly on plant-based proteins using fava beans: see Roquette in France and VESTKORN in Denmark. 
  • Leaving the plant-based industry aside for a minute, let’s turn to the CPG market. Better-for-you snack makers are recognising the advantages of fava when coming up with new recipes for their energy bars and bites. Fava beans are a fantastic addition as a rich source of protein. UK-based snack brands PROFUSION and The Happy Snack Company alongside Lupii and Fava Foods in the USA are all using fava beans to pack extra proteins into their products.
  • Meanwhile, EIT Food - an independent EU organisation - has been engaging in the Favuleux Project in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Roquette to promote the fava bean as a high-quality sustainable source of plant-based protein. The project is developing a fava bean production pipeline, which will include both supply chain modelling and an assessment of its economic viability as an ingredient.
View the database of 20+ Companies using Fava Beans here

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

📈 The figures

  • The global fava bean market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% between 2021 and 2026.
  • In 2019, the market was estimated to be worth $3.1 billion.
  • 2 million tonnes of fava beans are currently produced every year across the EU and the UK, with cultivation hotspots in Northern France and England.

 

Source: Stockeld Dreamery

 🧀 Case study: Stockeld Dreamery

  • Stockeld Dreamery, until recently known as Noquo Foods, are a Swedish startup in the business of making delicious, artisan plant-based cheese using fermented fava and pea protein.
  • Their first product is a 100% plant-based version of feta and launched in stores and foodservice channels in Stockholm this May. 
  • The cheese is made using just 7 ingredients, including the protein-rich fava bean. This creamy recipe makes for a nut-free cheese, a rare outlier in the dairy-free cheese market - making it an awesome choice for anyone with a nut allergy. 
  • The inclusion of fava beans help make the cheese alternative, branded as Stockeld Chunk, nutritionally equivalent to real feta, with about 13% protein content.
  • Head of strategy Daniel Ruben told Ag Funder News: ‘This is a solid first step towards our first vision: To create a cheese that is superior in taste and nutrition, constantly striving to use our planet’s resources wisely, accessible to all yet one of the top preferred cheeses by chefs and restaurants. Simply put, the world’s most ambitious cheese.’
  • Future plans for the company include using their proprietary blend of proteins, the result of two years of R&D, to create a plant-based cream cheese. They also hope to branch out into other alternative cheeses.

 

Source: Nestle

🕴 Case study: Nestle

  • It’s not just small upstarts getting in on the fava action - big-name corporations are eager to join the fava fun too. 
  • Via its brand Sweet Earth Foods, Nestlé launched its own fava-based, reformulated plant-based burger and new vegan Jumbo Hot Dogs in the US this spring.
  • The Sweet Earth Awesome Burger 2.0 is a new version of the brand’s original Awesome Burger, with an updated recipe that combines hemp, fava beans and pea protein for a ‘beefier’ texture. 
  • The new Jumbo Hot Dogs are made using hemp and protein from fava beans along with pea protein as its base containing 19g protein per serving.
  • The company cited increased demand for plant-based options as one of the main factors driving the relaunch.
  • And the Swiss company are even looking at including fava beans in their pet food offering, citing sustainability concerns.

👍 The good

  • Fava beans are easy on the environment compared to the alternatives (looking at you, soy) and can be grown in a wide variety of climates. That’s really good news given the growing popularity of plant-based diets. 
  • In fact, growing fava beans at scale might even help the climate: the plants are nitrogen fixers, meaning they improve soil health, and also require few pesticides and fertilisers while growing as a result.
  • The sesame-free nature of fava beans, as compared to chickpeas, make the fava bean a great alternative in plant-based products for those allergic to sesame.
  • And perhaps best of all for the maker of plant-based proteins and alt meats? Fava beans have none of the taste issues associated with pea protein or the health uncertainties of soy. 

👎 The bad

  • A rare allergy to fava beans affects around 1 in 50,000 people, but is most common in those of Mediterranean descent and Sub-Saharan Africans. Known as favism, this hereditary disorder means those affected may develop a blood disorder after eating the beans. Uncommon but worth knowing about for those in the fava bean sector.
  • Fava is known as an ‘orphan crop’, alongside lentils, chickpea and quinoa, which means it’s under-researched and low-yielding as it’s cultivated using outdated agricultural methods. More research and development into fava will be needed if it really is to replace soy in the plant-based pecking order.

💡 The bottom line

  • The great nutritional benefits, pleasing taste and texture and environmental pros of the fava bean mean it really is well-placed to take on soy, particularly in the plant-based arena. 
  • Overall, fava as an alternative protein source looks commercially promising, but  a whole lot more research and funding across the food value chain is needed into this underrated ingredient.

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