Beans: The Future of Carbohydrates?

brown and green leaves on white ceramic bowl

Legumes have long been a staple in human diets, and they’re getting new life in the form of pasta. These alternative pastas are made from a range of lentils/beans including edamame, red lentils, fava beans, chickpeas, so forth.

The bean pasta market is expanding at a 12.9% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2019 to 2029 and is likely to attain a market value of around $7.3 billion (USD) through 2029.

Factors Impacting Bean Pasta’s Popularity
As consumers continue shifting toward health-conscious foods and “free-from” diets, bean pasta has risen in popularity due to its nutritional value compared to traditional wheat pastas. For example, Explore Cuisine, arguably the leading global bean pasta brand, has a black bean spaghetti that touts 45 grams of protein per serving (almost 50% of the daily required protein), three times the amount of dietary fiber, and less total carbohydrates than regular pasta.

There’s rising consumer demand for high protein these days, and low-carb products and bean pasta fit both criterias. A PRN report stated that a big driver in this market is “a shift in consumer desire toward flexitarism and vegetarianism”.

An increase in consumers’ desire for gluten-free products is helping drive the growth of bean pasta too. In fact, the gluten-free market is expanding too, registering a CAGR of 7.2% from 2020 to 2027. The bean/vegetable pasta market attracts more millennials and Generation Z populations because, as a recent Food Institute article pointed out, 65% of Gen Zers want a more “plant-forward” diet.  The low-cost, yet high nutritional benefits of beans has contributed to their popularity as a rich protein source for vegetarians/vegans.

Key Competitors
As this market grows, more companies will enter the space and vegetable pastas are another top competitor in the alternative pasta space. Companies will have to partner with scientists to continue research into improving the texture against high heat and chewing strength to imitate fresh-pasta goods.

Listed below are some of the top bean pasta brands in 2021:

  • Gold Harbor and Trader Joe’s
  • Harvest Innovations, LLC
  • Banza
  • The Only Bean
  • Explore Cuisine