Building New Demand
The Canadian pulse industry has set a goal of “25 by 2025”. This means the pulse industry will strive to build new use markets, such as food ingredients and foodservice, for at least 25 per cent of Canada’s pulse production by the year 2025. To do this, we must demonstrate the value pulses and pulse ingredients have to offer food companies and consumers, including their nutritional benefits and the role pulses can play in sustainable food production.
Pulse Ingredients in Food Products
The pulse industry has been working with global food companies and manufacturers to advance the utilization of pulse ingredients in major food products for over 10 years. Pulse Canada, our national industry association, is leading work to support and encourage food companies that are looking to use pulse ingredients to improve the nutritional value of their products, as well as to meet their own company’s sustainability goals.
The work to include pulse ingredients in food products has been supported by the development of the Pulse Brand, which includes a seal that manufacturers can include on packaging of products that contain pulses.
Promoting Pulses through Consumer Influencers
One area we believe will contribute to building new use markets is the area of consumer demand for pulses in North America. Trends are showing a growing consumer interest in eating plant-forward foods, and we believe pulses are well positioned to capitalize on that interest.
We are seeking to shift the way Canadian and American consumers think about pulses in two ways:
- By promoting pulses as a food category in coordination with Pulse Canada and pulse grower associations across Canada, as well as the United States.
- By developing a promotional program specifically focused on lentils, which account for a large portion of Saskatchewan pulse production, and therefore are a significant contributor to grower profitability in the province.
Our approach for reaching consumers is to engage with key audiences identified as having the ability to influence consumer behaviour across North America, including chefs, dietitians, bloggers, and others to help amplify our reach to consumers.
Promoting Pulses to Foodservice
We believe the foodservice sector has tremendous ability to contribute large volumes of new demand for pulse crops. We are focusing our efforts in the foodservice sector on college and university dining programs in the United States, where individual institutions are responsible for providing upwards of 20,000 meals each day. The college and university foodservice operators are finding an increased interest amongst students in more plant-forward and plant protein driven menu items, and they believe that the use of pulses in their operations will only continue to grow. We are working to support that growth through technical support and menu idea generation.