Check Your Pulse: 11 High-Protein, Better-for-You C-Store Products

Chickpeas

Pulse varieties—also known as healthy grain legumes—are growing in popularity among U.S. consumers.  

The most popular examples include lentils and chickpeas. And they are growing as a go-to resource for alternative protein.

But as U.S. consumers begin to see the light, it’s up to marketers and retailers to better articulate the value proposition of the varieties to the uninitiated as pulse products now span most every section of the store—from the pasta aisle to indulgent desserts. Despite the decline in dollar sales of the overall legume category in the year ending May 28, 2016, certain pulses have been propping up category sales, according to Nielsen Homescan Consumer Moments.

Lentils and chickpeas dominate category growth, ringing up higher percentage dollar-sale growth, as lentil volume grew 11.1% and chickpeas grew 6.4% in the past year. They're also key ingredients in many new snack products on c-store shelves.

Here are 11 pulse products across multiple c-store categories growing in popularity.
 

Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs

Hippeas

Light and crunchy with a punch of protein and fiber, Hippeas are low in calories, certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher and non-GMO. With 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per 1-ounce bag, Hippeas are available in six flavors: Far Out Fajita, Pepper Power, Happenin’ Hickory, Maple Haze, Vegan White Cheddar and Sriracha Sunshine.

Brami Snacking Lupini Beans

Brami Snacking Lupini Beans

Calling it the “superfood of Roman warriors rediscovered,” Brami Snacking Lupini Beans (ancient Mediterranean legume) are the Mediterranean answer to edamame. Brami Beans are soy-free, ready for snacking and available in multiple flavors. The company meticulously prepares the product for days before steeping them in small batches of natural spices, sea salt and tangy citrus. They are then vacuum-packed fresh out of the barrel, preserving their natural flavor and crunch without the use of artificial preservatives.
 

Beanfields chips

Beanfields

It’s taking time, but bean-based formulations in the snack aisle are growing. Beanfields offers two varieties of chips: Black Bean with Sea Salt and White Bean with Sea Salt. Both are made with four simple ingredients or less, and Beanfields' special blend of beans, whole-grain brown rice and safflower or sunflower oil.

 

Eat Well Embrace Life hummus

Eat Well Embrace Life

Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Hummus from Eat Well Embrace Life (a Brand of Tryst Gourmet LLC, Alpharetta, Ga.) features a topping of roasted corn, pineapple and red pepper. The company offers a recipe for its Hummus Open-Face Sandwich on its website. 

Peas Please

Peas Please

Peas Please—the only organic and non-GMO baked pea snack, according to the company—is adding a White Cheddar variety to its line that also includes Sea Salt, Garden Herb and Southwest Spice flavors. White Cheddar Peas Please, available for an SRP of $2.99 per 3.3-ounce bag, contains one-half cup of vegetables per serving, along with 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

 

Progresso’s Good Natured soups

Progresso’s Good Natured soups

Progresso’s Good Natured soups—with three-fourths cups of vegetables per serving—are available in Hearty Tomato, Hearty Corn and Hearty Lentil flavors. Good Natured soups are vegan, using different bean bases and vegetable purees to achieve a creamy texture. The soups are dairy-free and do not contain artificial preservatives or colors. They are available for an SRP of $3.29 per 17-ounce carton (two servings).

Beanitos

Beanitos

Offering a complete line of bean-based snack flavors, Beanitos Inc. (Austin, Texas) launched in 2010 with the core belief that “beans are better.” It took an often overlooked, but incredibly nutritious superfood and figured out how to unlock their natural goodness to deliver great taste and crunch at the same time, according to the company.  

Campbell Soup, Well Yes

Campbell Soup, Well Yes

Campbell Soup is launching Well Yes, a nutritious ready-to-serve soup line featuring ingredients such as quinoa, kale and lean proteins. A group of women with Campbell came up with the Well Yes concept after identifying an opportunity to serve this segment of the soup category. Slated to roll out in January 2017, the product line is designed to promote the health benefits of the grains and plant proteins the soups will feature.

Simply Cafe Steamers

Simply Café Steamers

Healthy Choice is expanding its Simply Cafe Steamers line to include four dishes made with ingredients that are USDA-certified organic. Developed by chefs in ConAgra’s kitchen, the four new recipes include Unwrapped Burrito Bowl, which is made with organic beans and brown rice. 

Banza Penne

Banza Penne

Pasta formulated with chickpeas as an amenable combo—who knew? Banza knew, and created the new Banza Penne made from chickpeas. The company “took a household favorite and made it even better, turning the pasta you love into the pasta that loves you back,” according to the company. It features two times the protein, four times the fiber and nearly half the net carbs so consumers can “make every night pasta night.”

Daiya New York Cheezecake

Daiya New York Cheezecake

Canadian consumers have developed a deeper appreciation for pulse products than their U.S. counterparts, according to Nielsen data. So it’s not surprising that pulse product innovation would be found occurring north of the border. One example is Daiya New York Cheezecake (360 calories per serving), which is made with pea protein isolate and “lots of dairy-free love,” according to Daiya Foods Inc. (Vancouver, British Columbia).