In the past few years, health nuts and snack enthusiasts alike have been steering away from junk food in search of nutritious products that provide feel-good sustenance. Realizing that many consumers are no longer satisfied with greasy potato chips and “fruity” snacks that are really more candy than fruit, companies are starting to unveil more snacks that incorporate whole food ingredients and “superfoods.” These snacks are aiming to be “guilt-free” and provide sustenance that will actually stave off hunger for more than an hour. In addition to nutritional chips made from quality ingredients like lentils, quinoa, carrots, and flaxseeds, a snack that we are seeing pop up on more grocery shelves every day is packaged, roasted chickpeas.

In the past, chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, were primarily bought whole, either in cans or in bags, mashed in the form of hummus, or already incorporated into a pre-packaged meal. However, as increasingly more people are seeing the nutritional value of this ingredient, people are expanding the way they consume chickpeas, and in turn, companies are releasing products that go along with this new mindset.

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Take the company The Good Bean, for example. They offer their roasted chickpeas in a variety of flavors, such as Smoky Chili and Lime, Sweet Cinnamon, Mesquite BBQ, Thai Coconut, and even Chocolate! Their flavored chickpeas are so delicious; they even admit on their site that customers may mistake the snack as junk food. However, with one serving containing as much protein as almonds, as much fiber as two cups of broccoli, and as much folate as three cups of spinach, there is no denying that this snack packs a hefty amount of nutrition. Plus, they’re low in fat and gluten free.

We totally agree. While the natural foods industry may be a good place to start, nowadays companies producing clean sources of energy have a lot more leeway. After all, consumers are more health-conscious than ever and are looking for foods that not only provide a great taste but are nourishing for their bodies. With the global market for organic, functional allergen-free and better-for-you foods set to reach a record $1 trillion in 2017, it’s no surprise that snacks like roasted chickpeas are flying off the shelves.

And it’s not just one company hopping on this trend. A number of healthy food companies are seeing the potential in this tiny legume. A quick search on Amazon reveals Biena Foods, Saffron Road Food, and Chicapeas, as just a few of the companies putting their money behind the pulse.

Roasted chickpeas provide the same crunchy and savory taste that consumers have become so accustomed to from chips, without any of the guilt afterward. Plus, they’re just as addicting.

Additionally, by creating a snack product as opposed to a full-fledged meal, roasted chickpea companies are capitalizing on Millennials’ huge snacking habit. According to Euromonitor International, millennials snack more than any other age group and are fueling snack sales, a market that is set to grow two percent annually through 2019.

These companies know that success in the snack business essentially means following millennials’ buying trends closely.

As Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet said, “Millennials are currently one of the most powerful group of consumers in the U.S. Nearly 25 percent of the population fall under this generational segment, and it’s estimated that they have over a trillion dollars in buying power.”

With millennials and the monetary power they bring with them, at the forefront of the health food movement, we don’t think the roasted chickpea snack trend will be going anywhere. While glossy-packaged junk food items may have reigned supreme in the past, consumers today are embracing new, innovative products that are as protein-rich and nutritious as they are flavorful. Since roasted chickpeas provide these characteristics, we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of them on shelves, as well as a lot more snack companies taking their products in a similar direction.

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Feel like making your own roasted chickpea snack? Try your hand at one these: Ginger Garlic Chickpeas, Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas, Oven-Roasted Chickpeas, or Roasted Chickpeas With Chipotle and Lime. Yum!

Lead Image Source: The Good Bean