Melbourne-based start-up Wilderbean announces two Australian firsts – the launch of its 100% Australian grown Chickpea Pasta and its high protein, all natural and vegan Chickpea Mac & Cheeze.
Wilderbean is recreating everyone’s favourite pantry staples using Australian grown legumes, to make them as nutritious as they are delicious, keeping taste and the sustainability of their products at the centre of their business.
Just two heroic ingredients
While Wilderbean pasta tastes just like regular pasta, holds its shape and texture, and cooks al dente, it is powerfully different compared to durum wheat pasta. Made from only two Australian grown legumes, chickpeas and mung beans, Wilderbean pasta packs a nutritional punch. It has twice the protein and three times the fibre of regular wheat pasta while being reduced in carbohydrates and gluten free.
From legumes to innovative plant-powered pasta
Founders and sisters, Ingrid and Sally Stead, believe the food choices we make every day are one of the most powerful ways to improve the health of our bodies and planet. Both have had plant-based diets for the past 10 years, and discovered legumes when looking for high protein foods to add to their diet. However, they were underwhelmed by the existing bean-based options, which were usually in a can or uncooked and dried.
They were looking for comfort food that didn’t compromise on taste or their health. Initially they made chickpea pasta on a bench top unit at home and the results showed promise. They then worked with local food technologists to refine their recipe and invested in equipment to develop their own process to manufacture Wilderbean Chickpea Pasta commercially in Melbourne. They are now working with Victorian distributor Health Magic and are stocked in over 35 independent grocers and health food stores across Victoria, and are looking to grow their presence in NSW and QLD.
“It’s an exciting time to be creating high protein plant-based food with a recent Roy Morgan report showing 53% of Australians are moving towards eating less red meat. We’re empowering people to feel good about improving their health and that of the planet through delicious, chickpea-powered meals that make it easier for our everyday food choices to make a difference.”
Wilderbean’s Chickpea Pasta packs over 30g of plant protein and over 11g of fibre per serve, while having 25% less carbohydrates than regular wheat pasta. Wilderbean products also offer a good source of micronutrients including iron, zinc and magnesium meaning they punch well above the nutritional weights of other pastas in the same category.
Why choose legumes?
“In our view, legumes are the often-overlooked heroes of the plant kingdom. They’re not only nutrient dense, tasty and filling, they’re also one of the most resource efficient and sustainable foods on the planet.”
Sally discovered the power of legumes when she studied Agriculture Science at Melbourne University and later worked in soil science.
“Legumes are not only super water efficient, they also benefit the soil by fixing nitrogen and fertilising future rounds of crops, while feeding the soil microbiome.”
Sustainable from pasta to packet
Ingrid and Sally insisted that the sustainability of their products needed to reach beyond the ingredients themselves.
“We’ve researched packaging options that are as environmentally friendly as possible, including a certified home compostable inner liner and 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard outer boxes. Even our shipping cartons are 100% recycled.”
“While we realise that all consumption has an impact, we want to minimise our footprint wherever possible. This means we use local, high protein legumes and sustainable packaging so our everyday food choices tread a little lighter on the planet. “We’ve also invested in solar panels on our production site and are looking at further ways to reduce our impact.”
Opportunities for Australian made
With a growing concern over how food is produced, packaged and transported, Australia and its reputation for clean produce has an advantage, both internationally and domestically. According to recent Roy Morgan research, 88% of Australians are more likely to buy Australian made food products for their quality and their contribution to job creation. After drought, bushfires and COVID-19 related challenges, supporting Australian growers and producers is vital to getting our local economy back on its feet. Wilderbean is committed to sourcing Australian-grown legumes and supporting local economies in their production process.
Where to find Wilderbean
Wilderbean has a growing number of stockists in Melbourne, regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. They are looking to partner with more health food stores and independent retailers to make their products more widely available. They also offer their three products online via their website!