Pulse Canada is joining people around the world in celebrating World Pulses Day. Events are being held worldwide throughout the week from an FAO event in Rome to a New Delhi conference attended by Pulse Canada.
World Pulses Day
Every February 10, World Pulses Day is held to celebrate the key role that pulses play in providing nutrition to millions of people around the world. Pulses are increasingly being embraced for the role they play in building a sustainable food system and supporting a healthy lifestyle.
Pulses On The Rise
Plant-based foods as a whole are growing in popularity. Canada’s 2019 Food Guide recommends choosing protein foods that come from plants more often and many more choices are available at the grocery store and major foodservice outlets. Within the plant-based landscape, pulses are a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals with an unparalleled ability to deliver sustainable, planet-friendly food.
The pulse benefit is being noticed by the food industry too. Between 2008 and 2018, there was a 500% increase in global new product launches containing pulse ingredients.
Ingredients made from pulses like lentil flour, pea protein or pea fibre are increasingly being used in food products ranging from meat and dairy substitutes to snacks and bakery products that are traditionally based on cereals. When corn, oat or wheat-based food products are reformulated to incorporate pulse ingredients, they often have a better nutritional profile, with higher levels of protein, fibre and other vitamins and minerals. For example, incorporating yellow pea flour into products like pasta has been shown to improve the nutritional quality while also reducing the carbon footprint. This is especially important for people who rely heavily on cereal-based foods as a major source of nutrition.
The opportunities for reformulations extend across food categories. Blends of meat and pulses provide an opportunity to economically boost nutrition while decreasing the environmental impact of our plates. Reformulating beef burger patties to include whole cooked lentils results in less calories and fat per serving, reduced costs and almost a 30% reduction in carbon footprint, water footprint and land use footprint.
Making Pulses an Every Day Food
While pulses may not be a staple in the traditional North American diet, they are becoming increasingly easy to incorporate and find in our most familiar foods. In honor of World Pulses Day, go out and try a new recipe or pulse-based food product, an easy way to make pulses an every day food.
Pulse Canada is the national association of growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulses, also known as lentils, dry peas, beans and chickpeas. Pulses are an essential part of a healthy and sustainable diet. Pulses and pulse ingredients can help food manufacturers improve the nutritional and functional quality of food products.