How a challenger plant-based pasta is leaning into discovery

Chickapea is using product adjacency and tear-away recipes to communicate features health-conscious shoppers care about.


Plant-based challenger pasta Chickapea is educating health seeking consumers at point of sale about its chickpea and lentil-based offerings.

“As much as people are researching and learning about brands online, customers still discover most food products in store,” says Shelby Taylor, Chickapea’s founder and CEO. “Displays allow Chickapea the opportunity to educate the consumer with key message points about our brand.”

Taylor tells strategy that displays allow the retailer to position Chickapea creative adjacent to categories that align with other products the consumer is purchasing, providing a second point of sale and to drive incremental sales for the retailer.

Chickapea-instore-displayWith shopper displays like the ones seen here – placed outside a conventional pasta aisle – and also shelf talkers, Chickapea is trying to get consumers to think of pasta as a viable protein option.

Shipper displays also come with tearaway recipe sheets.

The recipe on this specific display was created to show how Chickapea can be used as the protein element in any meal; in this case, as the protein on top of a salad instead of, say, chicken or tofu.

“Ideally, we love to see them placed with produce, meat or meat alternatives,” Taylor says. “In general, we find that giving customers ideas on how to use our products makes them more likely to purchase.”

On pack, protein content callouts are also central and amplifying the message.

Other attributes that draw health conscious customers are being organic, simple and clean ingredients, and the company’s social mission and B Corp certification.

The Certified B Corp symbol is now highly recognized by health conscious buyers and Taylor says this ladders back to consumers looking for brands that reflect their values and wanting to be sure that the choices they make with their dollars are doing good in the world.

“It’s a big part of who we are at Chickapea and it often drives preference over competitive brands.”

Taylor says it’s received very positive feedback overall on Chickapea package design. “We hear that it pops on shelf, speaks to the premium, quality product inside and that it has a nice clean look while also positioning our key attributes clearly.”

Chickapea-imageAccording to Taylor, its latest sell-through data shows Chickapea growing more than +100%. Pulse-based pasta is growing four times faster than the growth of gluten-free pasta, and growing at 41% while the overall shelf stable pasta category is declining.

In Canada, Taylor says the primary competitors are GoGo Quinoa and Explore Cuisine, which offer high-protein dry pastas, rather than conventional pasta brands.

The brand currently works in-house and with its sales partners.