Ingredients supplier EHL has predicted chickpea flour will be a major trend for the coming year.

The Manchester-based company said pulses such as chickpeas offer bakers and other food manufacturers a way to boost the health credentials of products such as bread, and tap demand for gluten-free foods.

This summer, Warburtons announced it had joined forces with Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) in a research initiative designed to advance the use of pulses such as yellow peas, red and green lentils, chickpeas and navy beans.

EHL said use of chickpea flour as a wheat flour substitute has increased this year and predicts it will continue to do so in 2017.

In addition to being gluten-free and high in protein, chickpea flour is also high in iron and fibre, said the supplier. EHL added it can bring a nutty taste to bread, and binds well in recipes to create a consistent texture, which it said can be a struggle in gluten-free baking.

“Using alternative ingredients such as chickpea flour in breads can raise a product’s health credentials and enhance its appeal,” said EHL Ingredients joint managing director Tasneem Backhouse. “We expect a lot more alternative flours to be incorporated into gluten-free products in the bakery sector and across wider food products.”

EHL also predicted that interest in food from new regions would increase in 2017, suggesting bakers could look to tap demand for a wider variety of international foods.

The business said it had seen an increase in demand for spice blends and ingredients for Indonesian, Korean and Cuban dishes – and has recently launched three new blends to tap this:

  • Cuban sazon complete seasoning: A blend of garlic, oregano, black pepper with cumin and a drop of lime, used to create authentic Cuban-style meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
  • Korean BBQ seasoning: A savoury soy sauce mix with ginger, chilli and sesame seeds, used to coat pork ribs or stir fry with chicken to recreate the taste of the Orient.
  • Indonesian fish curry powder: A mix of cumin, fennel, chilli, star anise and fenugreek to create an Indonesian fish curry.

 “The taste preferences of UK consumers are always evolving and we’re seeing a greater demand for herb and spice blends from more unusual and exotic places around the world,” said Backhouse.

 “The Caribbean is also receiving more attention from consumers, and is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines with influences from Africa, Europe, East India, Arab nations and China.”