25 by 2025: Canadian Pulse Industry Sets Ambitious Target for Future Growth

WINNIPEG, Jan. 18, 2017 /CNW/ - The Pulse Canada Board of Directors is aiming high to accelerate growth and generate significant new demand for pulses and pulse ingredients by 2025.  Board members set the "25 by 2025" target as part of the association's planning process and will now embark on an effort to unite the industry around the bold new goal.

By setting a target of 25 by 2025, the industry will marshal its resources to create new demand in new use categories for 25% of its productive capacity. Snack foods, tortillas and breakfast cereals are just a few product categories that represent growth potential for pulse ingredients which offer food manufacturers protein, fibre, slowly digestible starch and an unparalleled environmental sustainability story.

The industry makes the announcement on January 18, 2017, the second annual Global Pulse Day; a day where the global pulse industry works together to increase public awareness of the impact that pulses can have on the health of people and the health of the planet. "Global Pulse Day and the 2016 International Year of Pulses have been incredibly successful platforms that have helped create awareness for pulses and the contribution they make to human health and environmental sustainability.  We believe we can continue to build momentum and turn that awareness into increased demand and higher consumption," says Lee Moats, Chair of Pulse Canada.

The demand target comes as the industry considers its sustainable growth strategy. The Canadian pulse industry continued to expand production in 2016 to meet strong demand with a 28% increase in lentil production and a 51% increase in pea production over last year.  "Our traditional markets will always be a top priority for us and we'll continue to invest into improving service and product quality for Canada's long standing customers," says Moats.  "Pulse ingredients are also attracting a lot of attention from non-traditional markets and we need to ensure that we sharpen our focus on that new demand in order to diversify our options and deliver the value we know that pulse ingredients can add to a wide range of new food products," says Moats.

In 2016, the number of food products containing pulses launched in North America grew by approximately 30%. "As we look ahead, the definition of food quality will include social indicators like health outcomes, environmental indicators like greenhouse gas emissions and economic indicators such as affordability. Our journey to 25 by 2025 aligns well with the future of food and we're looking forward to working with our partners at home and around the world to meet the needs of customers of today and customers of tomorrow," says Moats.

Pulse Canada is the national association representing growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulse crops (peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas).

BACKGROUNDER - Global Pulse Day (January 18, 2017)

What are pulses?
Pulses are a family of foods including dry beans, dry peas, lentils and chickpeas. Pulses are an affordable and environmentally friendly source of protein, fibre and other key nutrients for millions of people worldwide.

What is Global Pulse Day?
January 18, 2017 will be the second annual Global Pulse Day. Through Global Pulse Day, the global pulse industry aims to increase public awareness of the impact that pulses can have on the health of people and the health of the planet. The first Global Pulse Day took place in 2016, during the International Year of Pulses. Activities held on that day reached 21 million people in over 36 countries.

In 2017 there are expected to be over 150 Global Pulse Day events across the globe, from the Bahamas to Romania. A full list of events planned for Global Pulse Day is available at http://pulses.org/global-pulse-day-events.

What was the International Year of Pulses (IYP)?
The United Nations designated 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP) to raise awareness of the important role of pulses in sustainable food production and healthy diets, and to increase global pulse production and consumption.

VIDEO: IYP Canada Results

What was the impact of IYP?
In North America, the IYP campaign generated 3.1 billion media impressions, increasing knowledge of pulses and their benefits. Between February and June of 2016, awareness of the term "pulses" rose by 7% in Canada and 6% in the USA. 58% of American millennials (aged 18-35) indicated that they had seen or heard something about pulses in 2016. Of those millennials, 44% said that their pulse consumption has increased as a result.

IYP 2016 by the numbers:

  • 533 events were held worldwide in over 30 countries
  • More than 603 million social media impressions were generated
  • Earned news media stories had a total reach of over 2.7 billion global consumers
  • More than 1 million people visited the pulses.org and pulsepledge.com websites

The industry will continue to build consumer awareness around the world through global collaborative initiatives such as Global Pulse Day. In North America, the consumer promotion campaign launched in 2016 will continue until at least 2018.

What are the nutritional benefits of pulses?
Pulses are a low-fat, affordable source of protein and fibre. They contain two to three times more protein than grains like rice, corn and wheat, and almost twice the protein of quinoa. Eating a half cup of pulses provides you with meaningful amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

What are the health benefits of pulses?
Pulse consumption has many health benefits. Pulses have a low glycemic index. Studies have shown that eating pulses can contribute to stable blood sugar levels, which can help manage diabetes. Pulses are also low in saturated and trans fats, and high in soluble fibre. Eating pulses can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing risk factors for heart disease. The protein and fibre in pulses may also help you feel fuller longer, which can help with weight management.

What are the environmental benefits of pulses?
Pulses are a low carbon footprint food. They partner with bacteria in the soil to draw nitrogen from the air, reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizers, which are a large contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Pulses are also a water-efficient crop, using one-half to one-tenth of the water used by other sources of protein. Pulse crops also help keep the soil healthy by feeding soil microbes and leaving behind nutrients for the next crop that is grown.

Why are pulses important to Canada?
Pulses are a Canadian success story. Canada's pulse industry, which only began to see significant growth beginning in the 1970s, is now a multi-billion dollar industry. According to Statistics Canada, more than 8.4 million tonnes of pulses were grown in Canada in 2016, making pulses Canada's fifth largest crop after wheat, canola, corn and barley. Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of dry peas and lentils and a major supplier of pulses to over 150 countries around the world.

The future of food: Just add pulses
Experts around the world are recognizing the relationship between global food consumption patterns and issues such as increasing rates of diet-related diseases, undernutrition and climate change. Governments like Brazil are implementing dietary guidelines that emphasize the nutritional quality, affordability and environmental impact of foods.

Consumers around the world can make steps toward a healthier, more sustainable diet just by adding pulses. This can be as simple as adding pulses to everyday foods or selecting food products already containing pulses at the grocery store.

Reformulating food products to include pulse ingredients can significantly increase their nutritional quality while lowering their environmental footprint. For example, a reformulation of traditional durum pasta to include 25% lentil flour can increase fibre content by 100% and protein content by 25% while lowering its carbon footprint by up to 26%. Food companies are already beginning the process of reformulating foods to include pulses. In 2016, the number of food products containing pulses launched in North America grew by approximately 30% with the fastest growth coming from the snack foods category.

Pulses will be part of the solution to ensuring healthier outcomes, affordable nutrition and environmental sustainability for our growing population.

SOURCE Pulse Canada

For further information: Courtney Hirota, Director of Strategic Communications, chirota@pulsecanada.com, (204) 925-3782 (office), (204) 791-8919 (cell)

RELATED LINKS
http://www.pulsecanada.com

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