Skip to content

For the Global Pulse Industry, The Wait is Finally Over (PCN Winter 2016) JAN 11 2016 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Pulse Crop News.

And we’re off! The United Nations officially launched the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP) on Nov. 10, 2015. The ceremony at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome emphasized the important role that beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas play in contributing to healthy people and a healthy planet.

“IYP will draw attention to important global issues like nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability,” said Allison Ammeter, Chair of the IYP Canada Committee and Alberta Pulse Growers. “This attention will ensure the Canadian industry will continue to grow and keep Canadian pulses competitive at the farm gate.”

Anticipation for this year has been building within the global pulse industry since the United Nations announced the designation in December 2013. For pulse producing nations like Canada, this launch marks the beginning of a year of events, activities and initiatives that will aim to increase consumer awareness and consumption of pulses.

On the heels of the official IYP launch was the first IYP Signature Event, Little Beans, Big Opportunities: Realizing the Potential of Pulses to Meet Today’s Global Health Challenges. This one-day conference, held at the Sackler Institute of Nutrition Sciences at the New York Academy of Sciences, brought together leading experts in international food security, agriculture, food science, health and nutrition to discuss various challenges and opportunities related to pulses and pulse research.

As a leader in pulse production and exports, Canada has played an important role in the planning and execution of global initiatives like the Little Beans, Big Opportunities conference.

Launched alongside IYP was, a global website focused on the health, nutrition and sustainability benefits of pulses, complete with a database of pulse recipes from around the world. This website is one of the most important tools being used to get pulses into the minds and the mouths of consumers. is part of a longterm strategy, including the development of a global pulse brand, designed to increase global pulse consumption well beyond 2016. The website will be the home to the pulse brand and will serve as a landing space for the North American consumer promotion campaign. Visit and share the site with your networks to help achieve the goal of increased pulse consumption in Canada.

“IYP is an opportunity to capture the attention of consumers and the global food industry, to demonstrate how incorporating more pulses into their diets and food products can improve nutrition and also support the environment,” said Ammeter. “It will also leverage the international focus on pulses to build more demand for the pulses Canadian growers are producing.”

The Canadian IYP festivities will kick off on Jan. 6 at a “Pulse Feast” in Toronto. The evening event, hosted by Chef Michael Smith of Food Network Canada, will attract prominent Canadian media, bloggers and dietitians to enjoy nutritious pulse-based dishes.

Throughout the evening, guests will be encouraged to take the Pulse Pledge, a commitment to increase their pulse consumption to improve their health and nutrition. The Pulse Pledge is an important aspect of the North American consumer promotion campaign and was created as a way to inform consumers about the benefits of pulses and to encourage them to eat pulses more regularly. Anyone can take the pledge at

Also making its debut on Jan. 6 is Pulses: The Ideal Partner; a travelling exhibit designed by the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, that will show Canadians why pulses are the ideal partner for their health and the environment. The exhibit will be unveiled at Pulse Feast before beginning its tour across Canada. Albertans will have the opportunity to see the exhibit at several events throughout 2016, including the Farm Tech Conference in Edmonton on Jan. 26-28 and Aggie Days in Calgary on April 6-10.

Other activities that the IYP Canada Committee has planned for 2016 include an educational program in Canadian schools developed by Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, a competition for post-secondary food science and culinary students, and a series of sessions on pulse health and nutrition for Canadian health care professionals. Another key initiative is a two-part workshop on pulse ingredient processing with part one being held at the Canadian International Grains Institute in April and part two at POS Bio-Sciences and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre in September.

Ultimately, the goal of IYP Canada is to contribute to the sustainable and profitable growth of the Canadian pulse industry. To learn more about the wide range of activities that support that goal and to learn how you can join the effort, visit