US farmers have planted a record number of chickpeas this year. According to new estimates released by the United States Department of Agriculture, US farmers expect to produce 53 percent more chickpeas—currently planted across 498,000 acres—than they did in 2013. “Protein, and particularly plant-based protein, is gaining a lot of steam with consumers,” Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights for market research firm Technomic’s, said. “Hummus has been popular a long time, but it’s not 100 percent mainstream. It’s growing in penetration and becoming more and more familiar.” Similarly, 13 percent more acreage (at a total of 1.1 million acres) will be dedicated to growing lentils, another source of plant-based protein, this year. A recent study conducted by market research company Packaged Facts revealed that sales of all bean-based snacks were up by eight percent in 2016—with sales of chickpea-based snacks up by 150-percent last year.
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