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Staying Up Late at the Pulse and Special Crops Convention (PCN Fall 2016) SEP 19 2016 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

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

Caroline Sekulic, APG Director, Zone 4

I returned from the Pulse and Special Crops Convention (PSCC) in Toronto in need of sleep, full of hope for pulse markets, and energized by the International Year of Pulses (IYP). The days were full of thought-provoking presentations, important information and followed by long evenings. Why? Because the conversations that ignite from a common industry full of promise and innovation are really, really good. The kind for which you stay up.

International pulse demand won’t stagnate. That’s what I needed to hear, and Peter Hall, VP and Chief Economist for Export Development Canada, was bullish on continued market demand. Quality, confidence and reliability define Canadian food exports. In his July 7 market outlook, he actually referred to demand for Canadian food products as ‘scorching’.

Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency, assured us we can get this crop where it’s going, with modernized regulations and dispute settlement. The panel presentation for International Trade and Market Access was confident that we can wade through the MRL and end use regulatory maze to continue the dialogue for reciprocal success.

On domestic fronts, eating out and convenience foods are an unstoppable trend. Freshii© founder Matthew Corrin, visionary marketer and Next Gen Den panelist, is proof that ‘killer culture’ works – food is a lifestyle statement for millennial consumers: healthy, tasty, sustainable and guilt free.

Dr. Joyce Boye, FAO Special Ambassador for the IYP of North America stated “we KNOW pulses can contribute to decreasing global non-communicable diseases” like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

To sum it up in a seed coat, Dr. Chris Marinangeli, Director of Nutrition, Science and Regulatory Affairs for Pulse Canada, presented research proving that pulses offer dietary promise to help reduce post-prandial glycemic response, a key factor in diabetes prevention and control. Regular pulse consumption can decrease both LDL cholesterol levels and arterial plaque.

Pulses can help stem the overwhelming tide of obesity, providing protein and other nutrients at a fraction of the cost of animal protein. They can be fractionated, ground, extruded, included and served up in every culture, leaving the planet healthier than when they were seeded. Add 1/2 cup of pulses to that apple a day and we all reap the benefits!

But we already knew that from the awareness creation stemming from IYP 2016. As we donned our pulse jerseys to go into the Hockey Hall of Fame, I think every attendee was pumped to be on a winning team. During the day at PSCC, I was privileged to hear brilliant people speak about the promise of the pulse industry. At every break and in the evening I was delighted to hear the same message from traders, processors, and industry players.

We now have a global brand that processors will use on packaging so consumers can identify and associate with premium products that have the heart and gut friendly attributes of the mighty pea, lentil, chickpea and bean. It’s coming soon to your grocery store on cereals, pastas, cookies, salads, beverages, bread products, cakes, pastries. Look for the label, you will be surprised how many products in your cart contain pulses.

Meeting the people who are forecasting, researching and profiting with pulses takes farming to a whole new level beyond our fields. And it makes me realize how important it is for producers to participate. Teamwork through our provincial organizations, Pulse Canada and the Global Pulse Confederation (which has tendrils weaving through all of our key markets and the developing ones) is working.

As an industry, we need to keep the pulse rate up. We can’t stop now, we just got started with IYP!