Pulse sector builds on success of International Year of Pulses

Saskatchewan Pulse Growers reports that the International Year of Pulses in 2016 reached over four billion people during its global promotion campaign. Media coverage reached an additional 580 million people. That is good news for a growing Canadian pulse industry.

“The 2017 growing season saw pulse acres reach levels second only to the 2016 record setting year,” says SPG executive director Carl Potts. “Lentils and peas maintained their position as a mainstay in crop rotations, while soybeans began appearing with increasing frequency in fields across Saskatchewan.”

Consumer and media interest in pulses has remained strong since the International Year of Pulses. The pulse industry continues to leverage that interest with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers specifically continuing to promote the health, nutrition and sustainability benefits to consumer influencers, such as dietitians and bloggers. 

Private investment

Increased demand has led to investment by private industry in pulse processing, including the potential 600,000-tonne market that will be created by Verdient Foods’ and Roquette’s new pea processing plants in Vanscoy, Sask., and Portage la Prairie, Man. when they begin operations in 2019.

“When these newly announced facilities are running at full capacity, they will combine to be larger than the third largest market for Canadian yellow peas,” Potts says.

Moving forward

Saskatchewan Pulse Growers recognizes that to further the success of the pulse industry, it has to not only produce more, but to focus on diversifying markets and building new demand for pulses as well as having consistent and reliable market access to that demand.

“The Canadian pulse industry has set a goal to have 25 per cent of pulses produced in Canada into new-uses by 2025,” Potts says.

To achieve this goal, the association supports the promotion of pulses through work being led by Pulse Canada and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, on a North American consumer campaign. It also works collaboratively with industry to promote lentils in Canada and the United States under the Lentils.org promotional brand.

“We also fund research in alignment with Canadian industry priorities in the areas of health and nutrition, utilization and sustainability that will reduce barriers to pulse ingredient utilization by major food manufacturers,” Potts says.

Bottom line

Work to increase consumer interest in pulses, partnered with the processing capacity to deliver pulse-based ingredients to major food manufacturers, is opening new doors and new markets for Canadian pulses and pulse ingredients. The Canadian pulse industry plans to have 25 per cent of pulses produced in Canada into new-uses by 2025. 

Article by: Trudy Kelly Forsythe