Hungry for Pasta Alternatives

Hungry for Pasta Alternatives

Innovation is a leading factor in the rise of functional foods. Consumers looking for alternatives to their favorite foods are becoming increasingly open minded to unconventional ingredients. “Milks” made from soy, nuts and even peas have stormed the market in the past ten years. These alternatives offer a variety of health benefits without the saturated fat and carbohydrates that can be associated with cow milk, and are among a slew of products making it easier to choose more plant-based options. This has helped to create a new platform for alternatives of dietary staples, from milk to meat to pasta.     While pasta is a hugely popular comfort food, its high carbohydrate, sugar and calorie counts are unappealing to modern health conscious audiences. Typically made from refined flour, “pasta is regarded by many as nothing more than a low-in-nutrients-but-high-in-carbs vehicle for tasty sauces” (Simon Baroke, Euromonitor). Whether motivated by food allergies, dietary choices or weight management, consumers are looking to upgrade their favorite foods to better suit their lifestyles – without having to forgo them entirely. Thus, the availability of pasta substitutes is expanding to accommodate this growing demand.     Pasta is most often purchased dry and uncooked, but products made from refined flour are making room in the aisle for a myriad of new vegetable based noodles. Legumes are a highly favored ingredient, with several brands introducing alternative pastas in this space over the past few years. Explore Cuisine offers a wide selection of bean-based pastas varying from black beans, adzuki beans, edamame, and mung beans. Similarly, Pedon’s More Than Pasta line boasts red lentil, green pea and chickpea varieties. While these alternatives may not stand up to traditional pasta in terms of flavor...