"Megumi" Takes Top Prize in National Pulse Food Development Competition

WINNIPEG, June 28, 2017 /CNW/ - An innovative beverage that provides 11 g of protein and 24% of the daily recommended intake of dietary fibre won first place in Pulse Canada's tenth annual Mission: ImPULSEible food product development competition. Megumi is a nutrient-dense, prebiotic beverage made from fermented chickpeas, navy beans and red lentils.

Megumi was created by Jon Geneau, Kathleen Chan, Marvi Carandang and Yuka Yamazaki from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. In addition to being high in protein and fibre, it also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, iron and calcium. Thanks to its natural sweetness (derived from the fermentation process), Megumi also contains no added sugars or sweeteners.

The team based their idea for the product on a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice called "amazake".  "When we first started, I believe one of the only things we were sure about was that we wanted to experiment with fermentation," said Chan. "Beyond that, we were open to anything."

After experimenting with various flavour combinations, the team settled on "Pink Lover", which combines fermented pulses and rice with strawberries, bananas and beets. "When everything came together and the idea started to have an actual form, it was very thrilling and rewarding," said Yamazaki.

Mission: ImPULSEible challenges Canadian post-secondary students to get creative in producing novel food products featuring Canadian pulses (peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas). This year a new twist was put on the competition: students were challenged to develop healthy products for millennial consumers (aged 18-35) that would qualify for use of the Pulse Brand, a new symbol that identifies food products containing pulses. For a product to qualify for use of the Pulse Brand, pulses must be in the top 5 ingredients by weight, and must make up 5% of the total formulation by weight.

18 student teams from six schools from across the country developed a delicious & healthy food product using pulses that ranged from desserts to snack foods to entrées. The national winners were selected by Tanya Der, Manager of Food Innovation and Marketing at Pulse Canada.

"The 2017 Mission: ImPULSEible competition featured some of the most innovative products we have seen yet," said Der. "Students did a fantastic job showcasing the many ways pulses can be used to boost the nutritional profile and functionality of food products."

Second place in the national competition went to students from the University of British Columbia for Easy Peasie, a nut butter alternative made from roasted chickpea and green lentil flours. Third place went to Lentola, a curry-flavoured granola bar featuring roasted lentils and chickpeas made by students from the University of Alberta.

Promotional videos and product information for all three of the winning teams can be found on Pulse Canada's Mission: ImPULSEible Facebook page.

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

What is Mission: ImPULSEible?
Mission: ImPULSEible was launched in 2009 by Pulse Canada as a way to encourage post-secondary students in food science, nutrition, business, and culinary arts programs to generate innovative ideas for incorporating pulses into retail food and culinary inspired concepts. One of the main goals of Mission: ImPULSible is to ensure that pulses (pea, lentils, beans and chickpeas) are on the radar of the next generation of food product developers and chefs who will be the trail blazers of food innovation.

How does the competition work?
Each year, students from universities, colleges and culinary schools across Canada are invited to join Mission: ImPULSEible, hosted by Canada's pulse industry. The students' mission is to develop innovative food products containing whole pulses or pulse ingredients. Pulses are the dry, edible seeds of legume plants and include peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Students present their creations at provincial competitions where judges evaluate them based on sensory and health attributes, the innovative use of pulses, feasibility and marketability. Provincial winners then compete at the national level.

This year, 18 student teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Atlantic Canada participated in provincial competitions during the winter and early spring.  Their challenge was to develop healthy products geared toward millennial consumers (aged 18-35) that would qualify for use of the Pulse Brand. Three of the provincial winners participated in a "virtual" national competition by submitting technical reports and promotional videos for their products to Pulse Canada.  The materials were evaluated by Tanya Der, a food scientist and the Manager of Food Innovation and Marketing at Pulse Canada.

What is Pulse Canada?
Pulse Canada is the national industry association that represents growers, processors and traders of pulse crops in Canada. Direction and funding for Pulse Canada is provided by the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association, the Ontario Bean Growers, and the processors and exporters of Canadian peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas that are members of the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA).

What is the Pulse Brand?
The Pulse Brand is a symbol that was developed by the global pulse industry in 2015 to increase awareness and consumption of pulses. The Pulse Brand is being used by farmers, ingredient suppliers, food companies, NGOs and researchers around the world to build recognition of pulses and their health, nutrition and sustainability benefits. For a food product to qualify for use the Pulse Brand on its label, pulses must be in the top 5 ingredients by weight and must make up at least 5% of the final product. More information on the Pulse Brand is available at pulses.org/pulse-brand.

SOURCE Pulse Canada

For further information: contact Madeleine Goodwin, Manager of Market Development, Pulse Canada: 204.925.3787, mgoodwin@pulsecanada.com.


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