“What impact does this product have on the environment?” As we progress further into the environmental movement, not only is this question getting harder to answer, but the strength of the answer impacts more stakeholders than ever before. While the industry continues to raise the bar for sustainability, making reformulations with Canadian pulses can help you decrease environmental impacts and reach your corporate sustainability goals.
Pulses have a naturally lower carbon footprint than most foods because they require little to no nitrogen fertilizer to grow. This is because they have a special relationship with certain soil bacteria that convert nitrogen from the air into a form that is usable to the growing pulse crop. Beyond that, Canadian farmers have adopted practices such as minimum tillage and reducing fallowing, which are practices that have been proven to sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon into soils. This sequestration of soil carbon negates the carbon emissions of producing a pulse crop, creating a carbon-neutral or even a carbon negative crop. It’s no wonder simple reformulations can have a major impact.
There is a great opportunity for collaboration with sectors such as livestock as we work toward uncovering more efficient GHG mitigation solutions. Pulse Canada commissioned a research project investigating the impact of including Canadian peas in animal feed rations for Western Canadian pork. The findings were clear—through a change in hogs’ rations towards a pea-based diet, producers can cut out 28% of the GHG emissions of the feed, which, in turn, lower the end product’s carbon footprint by up to 18%.
Similarly, a reformulation applied to cereal food products can result in significant sustainable and nutritional gains. Canadian-specific production data and macro- and micronutrient data were used to calculate environmental footprints and nutrient balance scores (NBS) for traditional and reformulated pan bread, breakfast cereal and pasta. The results were substantial, with carbon reductions of up to 30%.
Canadian pulses and pulse growers are finally getting the opportunity to prove their value as a multi-tool ingredient. The Canadian value chain has been working together to leverage the power of Canadian pulses, with processors continually expanding their portfolios as new developments are made. Throughout our research, we’ve found that reformulating foods with Canadian pulse ingredients efficiently lowers the carbon footprint of an end product without forfeiting taste, texture or functionality. As companies look for efficient ways to lower their overall environmental impact, Pulse Canada is providing the data and evidence to help achieve corporate sustainability goals.
Sustainability Mini Webinar Series
To learn more about formulating for sustainability, join us this Wednesday, January 26 for part two of our mini webinar series: Crafting Sustainable Food & Achieving Your Corporate Goals With Reformulation.
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.