The increasing health awareness among the consumers has led to the high adoption of a gluten-free diet. People are realizing its importance and taking significant steps towards inculcating this diet into their lifestyle. The gluten free products also have high concentrations of calories, fat and sugar as their staple base is made up of either wheat, tapioca or rice flour. However, the major problems faced by the gluten-free manufacturers are low concentrations of iron, vitamin B, and fiber.
Pulses which are rich in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins can fill the nutrient gap required for these products. The pulse flour not only aids in removing the nutrient gap but also helps to improve the texture and shelf life of food. They have the ability to replace more than half of the corn and tapioca flour application in gluten free foods.
Pulse flour is enriched with elements such as sodium, selenium, potassium and iron owing to which they are also used as fortifying agents in numerous ready to eat products. They exhibit the nutritional benefits of dietary fibers, micronutrients and proteins along with the functional advantage of easy application in extruded snacks and breakfast cereals.
The pulse flour is majorly manufactured from pulses such as peas, lentils, and chickpeas. The companies have been trying to develop foods for people diagnosed with celiac disease which is caused by glucose intolerance. Manufacturers have started mixing different pulse flours to gain a maximum nutritional advantage. The agricultural production and eating habits of a country have a major influence on the type of flour consumed in a region. In Southeast Asia, chickpea forms an important constituent of the staple food consumed in this region. The climatic conditions in this region are also favorable for the cultivation of chickpeas due to which the consumption of chickpeas is high. In countries such as Japan who import pulses due to less cultivation of pulses, the consumption of the product is relatively less than other countries in that region.
The major threat to this market is the price fluctuation of pulses used for the production of flour. The price of the product is highly dependent on the price of the pulse in a particular region. The prices are lowest in Asia Pacific countries, particularly India, on account of large scale pulse production and high focus on agriculture in the region. In addition, growing population has led to increasing demand for the product, thereby leading to increase in low-cost import of pulses from various economies.
In-depth report on global pulse flour market by Grand View Research: