GREAT GALLS - When you think of breakfast, chickpeas probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind — but Great Falls grain merchandiser Justin Flaten hopes to change that.
Flaten has launched Trutana Foods, and the flagship product is called Crave Cakes.
“As far as I know it’s the first commercially available pancake and waffle mix made from a single ingredient that’s gluten-free,” said Flaten.
Right now, the product is processed in North Dakota and packaged in Wisconsin.
Flaten hopes to eventually base the entire operation to Montana.
The real star of the mix, chickpea flour, is 100% Montana-grown.
“It’s important for our brand, we want dry-land chickpeas just because of the sustainability message behind them they’re just grown with the soil, sun, and water in Big Sky Country,” said Flaten.
Flaten believes Crave Cakes will cater to a health-conscious demographic.
“The health attributes of Crave Cakes is we’re high in protein, we’re high in fiber, and we have a low glycemic index, so healthy carbs," he explained.
He also says the chickpeas in Crave Cakes are environmentally friendly.
“There’s no fertilizer that’s needed to grow these crops. There’s very little moisture that’s used, they’re pretty efficient. In fact there’s seven times less greenhouse gases than other crops.”
Flaten says price-wise, Crave Cakes compare well to other gluten-free mixes on the market, which are typically priced higher than most wheat flour brands.
The health and environmental benefits are great, but what about the taste?
“In the third-party tests that we’ve done, it scored equally to other commercially accepted pancake mixes,” said Flaten.
If those results aren’t convincing, how about some more discriminating palates?
“I have four kids and we got four out of four on that, so that was the first test that it went through,” said Flaten.
Maybe it’s a sign that they’ll soon be selling like hotcakes.