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Pulse Promotion Fits New-Age Tastes

Kids have been watching and learning from their parents – how not to eat.

“The ailments that have plagued our parents and our grandparents, like early deaths from stress and heart disease… they’re all fairly preventable, if we can live healthier,” said Timothy Hill, a 20-something junior trader with Bissma Pacific Inc. as he listened to the discussions at last week’s 23rd annual meeting of the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA) in Winnipeg.

Hill, whose company specializes in pulses, grains and oil-seeds, is confident his generation will drive increased pulse consumption. That’s because they want a diet that’s healthier for the planet too.

Chris Anstey, a British global supply chain consultant, said pulses’ “very, very positive story for health and an incredibly positive story for the environment” will find a receptive audience.

An adviser to Pulse Canada, Anstey is author of the soon-to-be released Pulse White Paper, which makes a case for increased consumption of pulses. White Papers are often used in business to lay out a series of problems and solutions for decision-making.

Anstey said by connecting both the substantial health and environmental benefits to be gained from increased use of pulse ingredients, the White Paper aims to make “a logical case for a new approach and a new consideration of the opportunities that pulses can provide as ingredients.”

“Consumers are increasingly demanding that the ingredients that go into the foods they consume have sustainability as part of their production approach.”

– CHRIS ANSTEY

Pulses have a very strong future ahead and it’s because they fulfil the demands of consumers who now ask much of their food, Anstey told the CSCA meeting July 15.

People want healthier food, that won’t make them fat or develop heart disease. That demand will only accelerate as governments continue to push improved diets as a way to control rising health-care costs, Anstey said.

But consumers more than ever are concerned about the health of the planet too.

A mounting body of research shows eating pulses improves overall health and helps combat chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, which are all on the rise. At the same time, pulses have significant environmental benefits, because they create their own nitrogen and produce less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of other crops.

It’s a story consumers want to hear and supply chains will want to tell, because it will be good for their business, Anstey said.

“My experience has been that supply chains work, in the end, from the top. So the final user is the one who decides what it is that they want. And consumers are increasingly demanding that the ingredients that go into the foods they consume have sustainability as part of their production approach.”

CSCA president and president and CEO of Saskcan Pulse Trading, Murad Al-Katib, says he’s confident that more food products containing pulse ingredients will soon be found on store shelves. “What we need to do is create foods that kids and moms with kids will want to buy,” he said.

“As an industry we’re developing the sophistication to move from the bulk food markets in the developing world into the developed food and ingredient markets in Canada, the U. S. and Western Europe.”

The CSCA set a new record at its four-day meeting last week, with over 400 traders, processors and exporters from all over the globe in attendance. The meeting also included speakers on topics such as transportation, market access and production outlooks.

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About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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