To stay competitive in the food industry, it is vital to take three major consumer trends into consideration.
Firstly, “health” is at the top of consumers’ minds. But compared to the past, today health encompasses much more than dieting as there is a heightened awareness of food as a vehicle for wellbeing. People are seeking functional food, which beyond satiating, should also deliver benefits fostering health. Therefore, foods claiming they are “good for you,” supporting cardiovascular or gut health, have found a big market.
More recently, protein-rich products have become more popular. The healthy aspect also covers the need for natural and allergen-free products. People want simple ingredient labels that provide more than just nourishment information.
Secondly, a trend that has been rapidly spreading relates to people’s growing consciousness about sustainability. Consumers demand transparency and traceability in the food products they buy. It becomes increasingly important for them to be certain that their food products are not damaging the environment.
Lastly, the trend of seeking convenience will be long lasting, as our busy lifestyles will certainly not slow down in the near future.
Is there one major key that satisfies all the above-mentioned consumer needs? The answer is yes, and the key is pulses, which are part of the legume family. The most common varieties are dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas. These seed varieties embed diverse nutritious properties and have two characteristics that make them a healthy food option.
Firstly, pulses have a high amount of fiber. Eating one cup of cooked pulses provides more than half the daily suggested fiber requirement. In addition, pulses are rich in protein. Just a half cup of pulses provides the protein contained in one cup of cereals like rice or corn.
Secondly, pulses are not perceived as allergenic and can be consumed by people who are gluten intolerant. Beyond their health benefits, pulses are environmentally friendly. Pulses enrich the soil they grow in through nitrogen fixation and thus increase soil fertility. Moreover, pulses are efficient water users – the water requirement to grow one kilogram of pulses is about 40 times less than the water requirement to grow one kilogram of beef. Therefore, pulses are one vital key to sustainable protein security.
Traditionally, pulses have been a central part of nutrition in many South Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries. In these regions, there are a multitude of dishes based on raw pulses that need to be soaked in water overnight and cooked for one to two hours before being consumed. However, Bühler has been able to bridge the gap between the innate inconvenient factor of pulses and the fact that contemporary consumers are looking for innovative and convenient food products. From efficient cleaning, sorting, de-hulling and splitting through to grinding and further value-added processes such as roasting and extrusion for pasta and snacks, Bühler is able to provide entire technology solutions for processing pulses.
Pulses represent a highly valuable and sustainable food ingredient. With established technology know-how and state-of-the-art application centers, Bühler helps its customers to develop innovative, convenient and tasty pulses-based products to cater present and future consumer trends.
For more information, visit Bühler at the 2019 GPC Annual Convention, June 10-13, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or go to www.event.buhlergroup.com/pulses19.