• A new range of individually quick-frozen legumes from TFB Trading is tapping into the growing wellness and plant-based protein trend with a versatile staple, that is cheap, healthy, and sustainable.
    A new range of individually quick-frozen legumes from TFB Trading is tapping into the growing wellness and plant-based protein trend with a versatile staple, that is cheap, healthy, and sustainable.
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A new range of individually quick-frozen legumes from TFB Trading is tapping into the growing wellness and plant-based protein trends. Legumes are a versatile staple, delicious, cheap, healthy, and sustainable.

IQF (Individual Quick Freezing) technology freezes single, individual products such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, without clumping together. The pulses go through a process that cleans, soaks, cooks and freezes them to perfection.

Each individual unit (no matter how small) is  preserved in a freshly cooked state to lock in nutrition and goodness, and to preserve texture and product quality.

IQF allows for the exact portion or weight of product to be added to a food or recipe, with less time, less fuss and less wastage compared to canned or dried product.

TBF asked FoodBytes director and accredited practising dietician Teri Lichtenstein to share her thoughts on the range.

Q: When you first were asked about IQF pulses what were your preconceptions about the product?

I had never heard of beans, chickpeas and lentils being available as an individually quick-frozen option before and was intrigued to see what benefits it could offer. I have always used dried and canned legumes in my home cooking and whilst these are of course nutritious ingredients, I wanted to try out IQF pulses to see how they performed from a functionality, taste, and texture perspective. Dried pulses are time consuming to prepare and canned varieties often mean wasted leftovers.

Q: What were your initial impressions after testing the product?

As a dietician working in the food industry, I’m impressed with IQF technology as an innovative method to freeze single, individual products with no clumps or freezer burn. I have trialled the IQF pulses in a variety of family meals, from casseroles to curries and burgers. I also defrosted and added to salads – they retain a good bite and are not mushy, which can sometimes happen when legumes or pulses are defrosted. The other advantage is that I can add the exact quantity of pulses required to my recipes and simply reseal the bag and pop back into the freezer – no waste, no fuss. Cooking for a family in a busy household, this product has saved me time and effort and produced a great end dish. You know you are onto a good thing when even the kids (aka the ultimate taste testers) give it a thumbs up!

Q: Tell us about the plant-based trend, is it still growing?

Absolutely it is, with plant-based meat alone projected by Deloitte Access Economics to generate $3 billion in domestic consumer sales by 2030. The plant-based trend is driven by several factors including consumers’ and diners’ desire for a more sustainable, plant friendly food supply, the recognition of plant-based diets and good health, along with shifting viewpoints on animal foods and ethical treatment.

While some are opting to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, more and more people are experimenting with plant-based eating as “flexitarians” and looking at ways to reduce or replace their animal meat consumption. I think it’s important to remember that the Australian Dietary Guidelines (and other global guidelines) recommend that we eat as many whole foods as possible and plant foods in their natural form.

So, while it’s great to see a range of processed plant-based products to meet consumer’s demand for a similar meat-style product, we need to find ways to get Australians to eat more whole plant foods with minimal processing involved.

It’s important that the plant-based trend promotes wholesome ingredients, as close as possible to the natural source. That’s why I’m really interested in IQF pulses to help Australian consumers move in the right direction when it comes to plant-based eating.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of pulses?

Legumes include all forms of beans and peas from the Fabaceae (or Leguminosae) botanical family. The legume family of plants includes pulses, which are the dried seed of legumes, and they are recognised for their range of essential nutrients and role as animal meat protein substitutes. Legumes provide a range of beneficial nutrients including protein, fibre, and a range of micronutrients such as folate and B vitamins for energy production.

Analysis of national nutrition survey research data has demonstrated that compared with non-consumers, those respondents who eat legumes regularly reported greater average total daily intakes of dietary fibre: 21.9g vs 30.4g respectively. People who regularly consumed legumes also had increased intakes of protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine, and folate compared with non-consumers.

It’s great to see that there are already cannellini beans, organic chickpeas, organic red kidney beans and organic red lentils in the IQF range in Australia, plus other products available upon request. Another key to plant-based, healthy eating is benefiting from a wide range of different foods and nutrients.

Q: Finally, can you tell us where pulses fit into healthy eating advice?

Legumes fall into both the vegetable and meat alternatives food groups in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating due to their high nutrition content. Unfortunately, intake has been very low in Australia with surveys indicating that only 35 per cent of people eat legumes regularly. Some of the barriers uncovered include lack of knowledge on how to prepare and include legumes in meals, as well as the time taken to prepare them.

The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council recommends Australians enjoy around ½ cup or 100g of legumes at least two to three times each week. I really believe that IQF pulses can help overcome some of these challenges and get Aussies eating and enjoying more wholesome legumes and pulses.

 

TFB Trading supplies the Australian food industry with natural food ingredients including beans, lentils, and peas. The company has been family-owned for over 30 years and is committed to making healthy and whole food available to all Australians. Innovation and technology are at the core of this mission which enables TFB Trading to bring novel technology like IQF to Australia. This report was produced with Teri Lichtenstein, director of FoodBytes, who provides consulting services to TFB.

 

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