Pulses : sustainable grain of the future17-08-2016
To mark the International Year of Pulses, we are doing a round up on the potential growth and increasing interest in exports of French pulses.
Let’s start with the basics. Pulses are edible seeds that grow in a pod, such as beans, peas or lentils. Covering a wide range of plant varieties, pulses are not only an important food staple for humans but also widely used in industry.
Pulses fall into three categories:
Broad beans and dried beans including white, red and black beans, roman, pinto, mungo, adzuki and soya beans
Green, brown, black and red lentils
Dried peas including split, whole and chickpeas
Irrefutably good for you
What makes pulses different is their high content of complex carbohydrates such as fibre, which helps make you feel full. Pulses are also low in fat, with the exception of peanuts, and soya to a lesser extent. In addition, cooked pulses are a high-energy food similar to that of cereals. Pulses are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, essential B vitamins, but also magnesium, iron, calcium and selenium, the latter being an antioxidant that helps prevent ageing of the skin. With its nutritional benefits, France’s National Health Policy (PNNS) promotes pulses as an important part of the nation’s diet to increase consumption of complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
France, Europe’s second largest producer
Soya, peanuts, beans, peas, lentils and broad beans are the world’s most extensively cultivated pulses. France has an annual production of 20,000 tonnes, essentially from Auvergne and Central France. According to figures released by the United Nations (FAOStat) relating to 2013, France accounts for 15% of Europe’s total surface area and 22% of its total production. Despite a reduction in the surface area allocated to pulses compared to 2011, France retains its ranking as Europe’s second largest producer after Spain.
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