Pulses have long been a staple in the diets of emerging and developing countries, and in recent years demand in the West has been on the rise. This is mainly due to the increasing popularity of the plant-based diet, which is gaining traction as a solution to both individual health and environmental factors. With a rise in plant-based protein and consumers looking for more sustainable ingredients, pulses are in a position to lead in innovation.
Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. They encompass a diverse group of food crops that includes peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans. Because pulses are nutrient-dense and a high-quality source of protein, they can help address the problems of hunger, malnutrition and obesity. And because pulse crops use fewer chemical fertilizers and water than most competing crops, they are vital to the sustainable food systems we need to feed a global population projected to hit 9.8 billion by 2050.
“From plant-based meats to pea-milk, snack foods and pet foods, we are really in the early stages of uncovering the true market potential of pulses. And equally important, increased production and consumption of pulses helps address climate change because they have a low carbon footprint, enrich the soil and use less water than other major sources of protein,” says Cindy Brown, the President of Global Pulse Confederation.
Pulses play a key role in the plant-based diet and are often the main source of protein. Although traditionally consumed in their whole form, exciting innovations in the alt-protein industry have led to the development of pulses. Pulse flours serve as an excellent source of protein (20-30%) and fibre (5-20%), providing substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals while being low in fat. “Up until recently, pulse flours mainly gained popularity through gluten-free applications, but as manufacturers aim to create more nutrient-dense products, pulse flours are getting recognized as a unique opportunity to make products more aligned with consumer wants and from ingredients they feel good about,” emphasizes Janelle Courcelles Director of Quality & Processing at Pulse Canada. “So it comes as no surprise that in a relatively flat flour industry, the expected growth for pulse flours is thriving.”
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- The Role of Pulses in Future Food Systems
As the UN Food Systems Summit approaches, the pulse industry is primed to position itself as a solution to both the climate crisis and global hunger. With the need for a holistic solution increasingly apparent, pulses represent a solid foundation for the world’s food systems to move towards a more diverse, sustainable and resilient future.
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Pulse Flours—the fastest growing flour in the industry
“In a relatively flat flour industry, the expected growth for pulse flours is thriving. Pulse Canada recently worked in collaboration with Euromonitor International to assess the market potential for pulse flours in packaged foods consumed in the US market. Where growth in the use of wheat and all other flours is minor, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR; 2020 to 2023) of pulse flours is predicted at 20.1%. This expected growth for pulse flours serves as an exciting opportunity for millers looking to expand their product offerings.”
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Ukrainian peas: exploring Europe, awaiting India
Historically, Ukraine is not a rockstar of peas market, herewith, it reserved its place in the TOP-8 world producers (about 6% in 2021/22) and TOP-6 world exporters of this crop (about 6% could be in 2021/22). The giant world producer of peas is Canada (over 40%), followed by Russia (~25%), EU (~25%) and China. Main exporters are Canada, Russia, the EU and Ukraine. As most market participants know about the latest support to grain prices by Canadian factor, here we see the same trend. Drought is expected to cut Canadian peas crop 2021/22 by ~14$ y/y to 4 MMT. Thus, prices are expected to be supported. Herewith, Europe, which is #1 destination for Ukrainian peas, has better crop this year. Season is expected to be challenging.
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