Changing Consumer Perspectives
Everyone knows beans are good for you, but research shows consumers sometimes find beans to be mushy, bland or tasteless. While texture is a sticking point for some consumers, perhaps the biggest hurdle is beans’ well-known association with flatulence. Immortalized in song, yet packed with so many undeniable nutrients, the issue at hand was clear:
How do we get people to eat more of something they might find potentially boring to eat— and that might cause gas?
Foods in this position have often gone down one of two paths: 1) Create a clever marketing campaign that gives consumers a more emotional reason to eat beans, or 2) Bear down and hope over time that consumers will just start eating more beans simply because they know they should. Fortunately, ADM researchers discovered a third and better option: 3) Convert cooked ground beans into a variety of forms like powders, grits and pieces that can be added to almost any food application—without altering its taste, appearance or texture.
By adding beans to foods that consumers were already regularly purchasing, this solution, known as VegeFull™, allowed consumers to bypass their taste and texture issues, while still reaping all of its nutritional benefits. VegeFull can now be found in items ranging from crackers to chips to brownies, cookies, pet food and more, leading to additional opportunities for manufacturers to add the appealing “serving of vegetables” claim to their packaging.
But what about the flatulence? Developers at ADM soon learned that the flatulence response could be eliminated by cooking and draining beans the traditional way—just like grandma used to. This approach leads to a 70% decrease in oligosaccharides. ADM developers also noticed that blending them with other ingredients like rice could result in further reduction. It’s also worth noting that in products offering a significant amount of an important nutrient such as protein or fiber, flatulence is both a noted and accepted trade-off for the benefits at hand.
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Bouchenak, Malika and Myriem Lanri-Senhadji. “Nutritional Quality of Legumes and Their Role in Cardiometabolic Risk Prevention: A Review”. J Med Food 16(3) (2013): 185-198.