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Science & Technical Industry Program: 2023 Recap

Pulse Canada launched STIP in 2023. Check out highlights from the first year and learn how you can get involved.

Dec. 12, 2023

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Pulse Canada’s Science & Technical Industry Program was officially launched in 2023.

STIP provides an avenue for members of the Canadian pulse value chain to guide and shape pre-competitive and shared priority research projects that are critical for the success of the entire industry. Members can significantly leverage individual funding contributions and get front-row early access to research results.

For the 2023 membership year, CPSC member companies made financial commitments totalling $70,000 to participate in 3 of Pulse Canada’s STIP technical committees. Participation in a committee allows companies to designate up to 2 staff members as representatives to be involved in the identification of priorities, objectives, scope and tactics for research project(s) and have early access to results.


Areas of Work

5 areas of interest were identified and 3 committees were formally launched in 2023:


Improving Sensory Properties

Members of the Improving Sensory Properties Committee shared a common interest in exploring novel ways to improve the sensory properties of pulses and their ingredients using organoleptic and texture enhancements, new processing technologies & formulations, combination of proteins, and leveraging consumer data to guide research efforts. In 2023, committee members were provided with detailed information on the flavour aspects of pulse ingredients including an overview of the main off-flavours, compound families associated with these off-flavours, and their origins in pulse materials, and how these off-flavours translate to consumer perceptions in finished food products.

  • A plan has been developed for a multi-year project to evaluate the effects of a series of temperature and/or relative humidity conditions and packaging materials on the sensory profile of whole pulses and their ingredients. STIP member contributions from 2023 will be utilized towards this project as well as contributions from any interested STIP members in 2024 and 2025. Co-funding from additional partners is also being sought by Pulse Canada.

In addition to this longer-term project, a 2024 workshop event is being planned in collaboration with the Food Development Centre in Manitoba that will address the other priorities that have emerged under the Improving Sensory Properties committee. This event will highlight multifaceted approaches to addressing pulse flavour challenges. Presentations and/or demonstrations as part of the event will feature promising research and existing commercial solutions in all of the aforementioned priority areas. This would include topics from breeding, process optimization, seed pre-treatments/ingredient modifications, and food product development solutions.


Industry Methods & Standards

Members of the Industry Methods & Standards Committee shared a common interest in establishing new or improving upon existing regulations, standards & methodologies for the pulse and pulse ingredient sector in areas including standardizing a sensory lexicon and establishing expert sensory panels, protein digestibility testing, functionality testing, and sustainability measurement systems. In 2023, Committee members received detailed information on the development of the International Pulse Ingredient Consortium (IPIC), a literature review completed as part of the Pulse Science Cluster compiling the most commonly cited terms used to described pulse ingredients, and a recent report commissioned by Pulse Canada providing an overview on the most common references and analytical procedures cited in literature to evaluate the functional properties of pulse ingredients.

  • Pulse Canada also conducted a survey of food industry and pulse processing stakeholders to identify the analytical methods most utilized by industry and/or those of highest priority for each trait. Results from this survey will be shared with existing technical groups working on method development, and Pulse Canada staff will continue to attend technical committee meetings and engage with these groups, advocating for the development of methods of highest priority for the pulse industry.


Pulse Canada also hosted a webinar on October 11th, 2023 where Dr. Jim House (University of Manitoba) presented on the use of less costly techniques to evaluate protein quality (including in vitro methods) of pulse ingredients, as well as some updated methods to assess the functionality of pulse ingredients as part of work that was completed by Dr. Mike Nickerson (University of Saskatchewan) and Dr. Ning Wang (Canadian Grain Commission) in the Pulse Science Cluster.

A project plan to develop a set of standard descriptive terms for each pulse crop type/ingredient format was also designed and will be initiated using 2023 STIP committee member contributions. For 2024, STIP member contributions can be used towards expanding this project to cover additional pulse crop types/ingredient formats and/or used towards priority method development work.

Interested in Joining STIP?

Contact Julianne Curran at jcurran@pulsecanada.com or click below to learn more about the program.

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By-Product Utilization

Members of the By-Products Utilization Committee shared a common interest in exploring novel ways to utilize and increase the value of starch and other by products. In 2023, committee members received detailed information on ongoing projects and relevant published research that related to the use of pulse fibre, starch-rich flour and pea starch isolate in various food and non-food end use applications. Committee members were also provided with key insights from a series of reports recently commissioned by Pulse Canada including:

  • Market Assessment of North American Pulse Starch Utilization
  • Whitepaper on the Modification of Plant-Derived Starches
  • Insights on the Use of Pea Starch in Non-Food Applications
  • Technical Insights from IP and Patent Claims Leverage Pulse Starches

Scopes of work for three larger research projects were developed under the By-Products Committee leveraging both participating company feedback and Pulse Canada insights.

  • One project would evaluate the functionality of pulse starches and flours in food categories with high volume potential, another is focused on understanding the physicochemical attributes of pulse flours and their impacts on performance in extruded puffed snacks, and the 3rd project would look at extrusion modification to enhance the techno-functional properties of pea starch and flours in food applications.

STIP member contributions from 2023 will be utilized towards one of these projects to be determined by the committee. Contributions from any interested STIPmembers in 2024, as well as funding being sought by Pulse Canada from additional partners, will be used to move forward on additional projects as determined by the committee.


Nutrition & Digestibility

While the area of nutrition & digestibility was identified by CPSC members in 2023 as a priority for pre-competitive, collaborative industry-led research, no CPSC members formally joined this committee in 2023. If 2 or more CPSC members were to join this committee in 2024, the committee could identify more specific shared priorities and a project could be developed to leverage member funding contributions.


Sustainability & Supply Chain

While the area of sustainability along the supply chain was identified by CPSC members in 2023 as a priority for pre-competitive, collaborative industry-led research, no CPSC members formally joined this committee in 2023. If 2 or more CPSC members were to join this committee in 2024, the committee could identify more specific shared priorities and a project could be developed to leverage member funding contributions.



Interested in joining STIP?

Any Pulse Canada member, including individual companies who are members or partners of the Canadian Pulse and Special Crops Trade Association (CPSC) can join the program.

Contact Julianne Curran at jcurran@pulsecanada.com or click below to learn more.

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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.