The adzuki bean, widely used in eastern Asia, is central to the latest product launched in the US by chip maker Boulder Canyon Natural Foods.

The US firm has added a rice and adzuki variety to its line of “unique chip flavours” and introduced the first “mainstream grocery product” to use the bean as a primary ingredient, the company told just-food on Friday (21 July).

The line has gone on sale in Whole Foods Market and Kroger stores and Boulder Canyon said it was “certain” the product will appeal to US consumers.

“Boulder Canyon typically eschews traditional salty snack chip flavours, preferring instead to stand out with unique chip flavors such as artichoke and spinach, malt vinegar and sea salt, tomato and basil, and so on,” the company said.

Boulder Canyon, part of snack food group Inventure, said the adzuki bean line would add to its already fast-growing range of kettle chips. The firm cited data for the year to 18 April that claimed its brands were the fastest-growing among the top four in the category, rising by 23% over the period.

“The adzuki bean is commonly used as a sweetener, particularly in bean pastes of East Asian cuisine. We can’t be certain, but we expect there are several Asian food manufactures that offer the paste in ready-to-eat packaging that can be found in specialty food shops here in the US,” the company said.

“Raw adzuki beans are fairly common in natural food stores, but no other mass produced products were found that used adzuki beans as an ingredient. It’s not so much the ethnic appeal as it is the adzuki has unique nutritional benefits and a sweetness that complements the salty flavours to provide an incredible profile that we are certain will appeal to US consumers.”