Give Peas a Chance
The case for more pulses in the field and on the plate
Obesity afflicts the poor. Greenhouse gases are rising in the atmosphere. The hungry of the world need more food, while the overfed need cures from diet-related diseases.
The pulse industry has proposed a solution – Give Peas a Chance.
That’s the title of its recently released white paper, a 20-page informative document commissioned by Pulse Canada and presenting what it hopes makes a good case to the global food industry to incorporate more pulses in the foods they create – and in so doing help ease the mounting pressures on global health and the environment.
The paper’s author, Chris Anstey, a U. K.-based independent consultant specializing in global supply chains, spoke to the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA) meeting while in Winnipeg in July.
Anstey consulted widely with global health, environment and food industry leaders to prepare Give Peas a Chance to produce a document he believes “lays out a logical case” for the long-term pursuit of a planetary diet containing more beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils.
The white paper cites the multiple human health benefits derived from broader pulse consumption, as well as the significantly reduced carbon footprint that would come with expanded production. Anstey has said in recent interviews that the pulse story is positive for health, but also for the environment.
More pulses on the world’s dinner plates would, for example, increase consumption of more plant-based protein, which will be increasingly significant both in terms of feeding the world’s populations, and protecting the environment.
Give Peas a Chance also details pulses’ unique capacity to benefit the environment, including the way they help farmers reduce their reliance on manufactured nitrogen made from fossil fuels.
The paper also outlines clinical health studies done with pulses as well as innovative ways that food manufacturers can use pulses.
“Small improvements in the majority of products will bring much greater and quicker environmental and health benefits than large improvements in a limited number of products,” it states.
Anstey said he’s confident the food industry will be receptive to the health and environmental solutions proposed by the white paper.
“Everybody who is involved in the food industry is going to be casting a much stronger light on what goes on in ingredients,” he predicts, adding that there’s ample evidence of that already happening. Major food companies are switching formulations to create healthier products and many are adopting sustainability messaging for their brands and striking new alliances with growers, he said.
Anstey believes it’s a consumer-driven phenomena.
They’re paying attention to consumers who want change in mainstream production, he said.
“The final user is the one who decides what it is that they want,”
Anstey said. “Consumers are increasingly demanding that the ingredients that go into the foods that they consume have sustainability as part of their production approach.”
Pulse paper: New industry white paper makes a case for using pulses to both improve the nutritional profile of food and reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.