Chocolate, yoghurt and salted chickpeas: Ord Valley District Co-op launches new snackable chickpea product

Stephanie SinclairThe Kimberley Echo
ORDCO chief executive David Cross with new products made from Ord Valley chickpeas.
Camera IconORDCO chief executive David Cross with new products made from Ord Valley chickpeas. Credit: Stephanie Sinclair/The Kimberley Echo

Ord Valley growers are hoping locally produced legumes could soon be a mainstay feature on bar tables, cheese platters and in lunchboxes across the country, following the launch of the first WA-grown snacking chickpea product.

After five years of market research and product development, the Ord River District Co-operative last week launched its new snackable chickpea suite, featuring salted, chocolate, and yoghurt-coated chickpea products.

ORDCO partnered with Perth-based company Gourmet and More to produce the healthy snack alternative, which will add to its existing Ord River chickpea flour and ready-to-serve Kabuli chickpea products.

Work on the range began in 2018 when the co-operative was awarded a $440,000 State Government Agribusiness Innovation Fund and teamed with Curtin University to undergo extensive market research on the product’s potential in domestic and international markets.

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It’s part of ORDCO’s bid to increase demand and add value to its high-quality, allergen-free Kabuli chickpeas, grown across about 600 hectares of the Ord Valley.

New Ord River chickpea products.
Camera IconNew Ord River chickpea products. Credit: Stephanie Sinclair/The Kimberley Echo

Ord Valley growers have been producing chickpeas for more than two decades, with about 1000 tonnes produced each year, of which about 90 per cent are supplied to East Coast buyers as whole grains.

ORDCO chief executive David Cross said while the whole grain market would remain the co-operative’s primary chickpea business, the new roasted snacks would take the product to a new range of customers seeking a nutritional protein source.

“A few years back we started looking at how we get more of this great product in front of a wider market,” he said.

“We’re excited to see all that work come to fruition and we think there are some pretty cool products.

“All the feedback has been positive; we’re starting to get some good traction.”

Mr Cross said he had high hopes for the new product range, which had the potential to expand the Ord’s chickpea market and boost job opportunities in the region.

“We’d certainly like to see the market mature a bit in WA and then go national, and longer-term having the processing here - adding the value and adding the jobs in this part of the world,” he said.

“Hopefully as things continue to grow, we can add more products to the family.”

Ord River Kabuli chickpea products are available on shelves at ORDCO and in independent grocery stores.

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