Alum's chickpea pasta named one of TIME's '25 Best Inventions of 2015'

emorywire | Dec. 23, 2015

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Photo courtesy of Banza.

From a tiny home kitchen in 2013, Brian Rudolph 12B and his brother Scott created the perfect recipe for protein-packed, nutrient rich pasta – made from chickpeas. As a member of the first class of Venture for America— with the goal of revitalizing the city of Detroit, Michigan through entrepreneurship, Banza was born after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The young company has skyrocketed to success after formally launching in 2014. Banza has released four different pasta shapes sold in nearly 2000 stores across the country, ranging from Shoprite to gourmet destination Eataly, and created 30 manufacturing jobs in Detroit. Brian shares, “The city has fallen on hard times, but we take a great deal of pride in contributing to the resurgent culture of manufacturing and entrepreneurship.”

In fact, last year Banza launched to new heights. In a recent note to family and friends, Brian wrote, “If there's ever been a time for me to express my gratitude, it's this holiday season. In the past two weeks, Banza won a $500,000 check from Accelerate Michigan (Michigan's largest pitch competition), won another check for $100,000 from JP Morgan and a local community college, was featured in Fast Company, and became Fairway's #1 selling pasta,” he writes. “But potentially the most meaningful just happened - we were named one of TIME's "The 25 Best Inventions of 2015." The story led to a live tasting on the TODAY show and a feature on TIME's Instagram.”

Food innovation gets healthy

When a doctor told Brian to cut gluten from his diet, he struggled to find a satisfying pasta alternative in stores. As a health nut, he searched for a nutrient-rich option that mimicked the taste and texture of pasta. “In 2013, I began experimenting in my Detroit kitchen with a few pounds of chickpeas and a small hand crank. After ten months of trial and error, I made a batch that tricked my roommate into thinking he was eating traditional pasta,” Brian says.

Nutrition plays a very important role in Banza’s game plan. “Banza is the first to crack the code on chickpea pasta,” says Scott Rudolph, Banza’s co-founder. With double the amount of protein as traditional pasta and four times the fiber per serving, Banza pasta is a smart, tasty choice for meals. The bonus? Banza also has a lower glycemic index, half the net carbs, and fewer calories than traditional pasta without grain and gluten. 

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