Beans, Lentils and Peas Coming to Everyday Foods

    Canada's pulse industry focuses on product development

    TORONTO, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - More than 180 people representing food
companies, product developers, pulse processors and food researchers are
meeting in Toronto on January 30 and 31st to discuss the nutritional benefits
of dry beans, chickpeas, lentils and dry peas.
    "Canada's pulse industry is in the midst of an intensive effort to
increase North American awareness of pulse foods, their nutritional benefits
and opportunities for use in food processing," said Peter Watts, Director of
Market Innovation for Pulse Canada. "The Pulse Food Symposium is an important
step towards reaching our goal of developing partnerships with food and
ingredient companies." The symposium opens tonight at the Toronto Marriott
Bloor Yorkville and continues all day tomorrow.
    Pulse production has quadrupled in Canada over the last 15 years, making
it the country's fasting growing crop sector. However, 80 per cent of the crop
is exported. The Pulse Innovation Project, an initiative of Canada's pulse
industry, is trying to increase North American consumption by stimulating
innovation in product development. The Pulse Food Symposium will demonstrate
how high-protein, high-fibre pulses can be used in everyday foods, including
cookies, muffins, cake and bread mixes, pasta and tortillas.
    "We're working with food processors to show that competitively priced
pulse ingredients can be used in a wide variety of food applications, from
snack foods to entrées," said Watts. "Adding pulse flour to muffins, for
example, is an easy way for processors to boost the nutritional value of a
popular mid-morning snack."
    The Pulse Innovation Project is also funding research related to the
health benefits of consuming pulses. Clinical research trials are underway to
quantify the benefits of pulses related to obesity, diabetes, heart disease
and gut health. Preliminary results from these studies, funded by Canada's
pulse industry with support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, will be
released January 31st. Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan will
also be presenting results from the study Lentils to Enhance Soccer
    In addition to their nutritional and functional benefits, pulses offer a
unique advantage for food companies wanting to differentiate their products
according to how "green" they are.
    "Pulse crops, in particular peas, lentils and chickpeas, are among the
small group of crops that draw their own nitrogen fertilizer directly from the
atmosphere, and that reduces carbon dioxide emissions," said Watts. "Fossil
fuel is the main input in commercial nitrogen fertilizer. When you're eating
products made from pulse ingredients, you're making an environmentally
friendly food choice because less fossil fuel is used to grow the crop."

    The Pulse Food Symposium is an initiative of Canada's pulse industry,
made possible through funding from Canada's Agricultural Policy Framework
(APF), a Federal-Provincial-Territorial initiative. Canada's pulse industry
accounts for $1-billion in annual sales to growers.

For further information:

For further information: or for a media kit, please contact: Peter
Watts, Director of Market Innovation, Pulse Canada, (204) 291-6447

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Pulse Canada

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