LONDON, ENGLAND  — The Bühler Group announced on Dec. 22 that it brought together a team of leading international experts to the Gulfood Manufacturing Exhibition 2014 to discuss the increasingly central role of pulses in ensuring the future of global nutrition, as well as addressing key industry issues, including food safety and security.


As part of the discussion, a team of leading experts revealed the potential for pulses, and their growing importance in the western world where there is currently a limited awareness of the high nutritional value and low environmental footprint of pulses, which includes dry peas, lentils, chickpeas, and many other dry beans belonging to the leguminous crop.


Speaking at the symposium at Gulfood, Hakan Bahceci, president of the Global Pulse Confederation (CICILS) endorsed Bühler’s commitment, acknowledging the impact pulse crops has on food security and environmental sustainability. “In 2013, we worked with member nations at the UN to have 2016 declared the International Year of Pulses (IYOP). The IYOP has the goal of raising the profile of beans, chickpeas, lentils and all other pulses around the globe,” Bahceci said. “As members of the pulse industry, we know that pulses have immense benefits for consumers in developed and developing countries. It is also an opportunity to increase the awareness of issues faced by pulse farmers around the globe, and draw attention and resources to key areas of activity and research aimed at improving pulse productivity worldwide.


“It is wonderful to see the work Bühler is doing in the area of sustainability and nutrition to support this effort. We are encouraged to see our partners in the value chain taking action on such an important global issue. The sustainability benefits of pulses are plentiful. We believe that the IYOP is not only an opportunity to benefit us in the pulse industry, but advance the benefits of pulses to address worldwide issues of food security, nutrition and environmental sustainability.”


Dr. Beatrice Conde-Petit, Global food scientist and technologist for Bühler added, “The growing interest of the wider food industry to include pulses in new food formulations is opening up a vast range of processing opportunities for this valuable crop. Pulses can be transformed into flour and be processed with other ingredients to deliver, for example, pasta-style products, baked goods, extruded snacks and breakfast cereals. As consumer awareness increases for this food group, the up-take of pulses within food products will grow rapidly supported by pioneering processing technology. With many food multi-nationals around the world already effectively working towards utilization of pulses in their products, we look forward to the transformation 2016 and the IYOP will bring to this underused food group.”


Bühler said it is committed to innovations in pulses processing, as highlighted by pulse processing specialist Prasad Jaripatke, who addressed recent market trends and challenges in food sustainability as well as Bühler’s vision to deliver increases in yield, safety and hygiene.


Prasad, Bühler’s Head of Pulses, Spices and Sesame Segment, also shared the company’s vision for innovation across the value chain from post-harvest to consumer plate. “We can help pulse processors reduce food waste and energy consumption with smarter, more efficient processing technology that achieves higher yields and productivity.

“We recognize that hygienic processing is vital, along with gentle handling, to ensure optimum product quality that is free from impurities, uniform in size and color and meets stringent food safety standards. Through industry collaborations, we will develop processes that can deliver a range of new pulse products, combining ingredients and textures that appeal to consumers in specific markets.”


Bühler’s capabilities for leveraging the value of pulses and pulse by-products, through post-harvest stabilization, cleaning, dehulling, sorting and further food processing were also addressed during the symposium, highlighting the opportunities for healthy food meeting both local tastes and cultural requirements. It continues to proactively develop new technologies for processing pulses and pulse based products, in order to address the growing demands from processors and consumers alike and in support of the IYOP. An example of such developments include the incorporation of the hull of pulses (otherwise a waste product) in conventional foods like pasta or baked products to supplement dietary fiber.