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China – A Growth Market for Pulse Ingredient Development (PCN Fall 2014) SEP 25 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

China is Alberta’s second largest trading partner. While most often people think of natural resource export from Alberta overseas as the typical trade, did you know that one of the largest markets for Alberta’s field pea crop is China? With over 1.3 billion people in the nation, there is a significant opportunity for the pulse industry to capture new markets with the use of pulse ingredients.

Pulse Canada has also recognized the opportunity to participate with Chinese counterparts to explore opportunities to increase export. In 2009, Pulse Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Cereals and Oilseeds Association (CCOA) to investigate opportunities for engagement. From that initial work, Pulse Canada completed a market study on utilization opportunities for pulses in Chinese foods. This led to a proposal focused on pulse flours, which was drafted and presented to Canadian grower groups in order to seek out interest and partnership.

In April 2014, Pulse Canada entered into contractual agreements with the CCOA for three research projects that involve product scale up to commercialization using pulse flours for steam buns, noodles and biscuits – all important foods with significant growth potential in the Chinese marketplace. Recognizing the opportunity, Alberta and Saskatchewan growers are supporting the projects with a $445,257 investment. Whole and de-hulled yellow pea flours were milled at the Canadian International Grains Institute using the knowledge gained from the Pulse Canada Pulse Milling Project, and provided to Chinese researchers for their use in this food product development project.

This fall, a contingent of growers and staff from Alberta and Saskatchewan pulse organizations, a Canadian food processing researcher who participated in the technical review of the Chinese projects, and staff from Pulse Canada will travel to China to meet with the project partners and learn how commercialization of these new pea flour products is proceeding. The delegation will be hosted by the CCOA and visit areas in China where the work is taking place. APG’s directors believe that this will be a fantastic chance for our grower representatives to see our largest yellow pea market first hand, and sense the true opportunity for food product growth and innovation with pulse ingredients in the Chinese economy.

In future issues of PCN, we will be highlighting the Chinese market and the experiences of growers who traveled to the region.