Imagine sitting down to breakfast and pouring ice cold milk on your bowl of chickpeas. It might become a reality thanks to Charles Sturt University (CSU) research into innovative processing techniques to add value to pulse crops.
CSU PhD candidate at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Functional Grains (FGC) Stephen Cork is investigating the potential for pulses like chickpeas to be processed into flakes for breakfast and snack foods.
“Pulses like chickpeas are high in protein, low in fat and are a great source of minerals and B vitamins but many Australians don’t meet the recommended dietary intake of one to three serves of pulses per week,” Cork said.
“The low consumption has been attributed to the time and effort required to prepare them, which typically involves soaking and boiling for over one hour, and the need to modify sensory attributes such as texture and flavour.
“My research is focused on understanding how processing technologies can support new product development, in particular for incorporating pulses into ready to eat breakfast foods, a market worth $33 billion globally.”
Working with Woods Foods, a family owned pulse processor in southern Queensland, and Uncle Tobys, Cork’s research aims to better understand the factors needed to turn chickpeas into flakes.
“The different chemical compositions of cereals and pulses means that there’s a need for research into how to apply a processing methods like flaking to pulses,” Cork said.
“My research is examining how pre-treatment, flake formation and secondary processing impacts the behaviour and quality of the product.
“It’s hoped the development of new products will diversify markets for Australian pulse producers to support further growth of the industry.”
Cork presented his research at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Update in Wagga Wagga on Tuesday 13 February. More about the GRDC Update here.
Cork was awarded a scholarship by FGC. Funded by the Australian Government through the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme, the FGC is administered by Charles Sturt University and is an initiative of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation. His research is supervised by FGC Director Professor Chris Blanchard, Dr Asgar Farahnaky and Professor John Mawson.