British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)

BEPA is the trade association representing the processors and users of British-produced pulse (mainly combining peas and field beans) crops. BEPA’s key objectives are to liaise with UK government and other national and international associations, & encourage the consumption of home-produced pulses by promoting their value as healthy, high-protein and high-fibre foods, and to liaise with crop scientists and plant breeders.

Franek Smith, President with Lewis Cottey, Vice PresidentOur website brings you the history of BEPA, contact information for all our members, BEPA in the press and media, the latest pulse market prices, and an introduction to the many end uses for UK-produced pulses.

We also give details of the main BEPA contacts - if you would like to know more about BEPA, and the important role pulses play in the UK's agricultural and food sectors, please ask us!

Franek Smith, President with Lewis Cottey, Vice-President.

British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)
Future BEPA & PGRO Events and selected UK/EU events Future BEPA & PGRO Events
and selected UK/EU events





Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO, comments that the market in the UK is dominated by the fact that the national pulse crop is down significantly on the year and the bean crop has significant visual quality issues.

The murky supply picture is becoming clearer and the apparent shortage of product has driven the recent increases in bean prices. Falling International yellow pea prices may put a cap on these rises as buyers are offered alternatives.

UK Peas have also yielded less than average, and values are starting to rise further on the back of availability. The 2018 harvest has generally produced better quality and rewards will be reaped.

Significant concern about winter bean seed availability has resulted in derogation for the sale of lower quality seed being issued. Minimum germination has been reduced from 80% to 70%. The quality of spring bean seed is not yet known. Growers hoping to farm save seed are urged to have it tested for germination and vigour.

The potential impact of 2018 crop quality on seed availability is causing the market to speculate about supply from 2019 too.

The 2019 pulse crop is receiving interest from growers struggling with oilseed rape establishment issues.

Demand continues to be well supported in all sectors of the UK pulse market and values have risen accordingly


UK Pulse markets

Franek Smith, President of BEPA, reports that previously, the total bean crop was estimated at approximately 500,000 tonnes but as the trade develops it is now thought that this may be as much as 100-150,000 tonnes over cooked once seed saving and on farm fed quantities are accounted for.

Quality has been significantly impacted and with bruchid damage, physical shattering of over-dry grains and reduced grain size, the impact on cosmetic appearance and seed quality has been enormous.

The feed bean market tracked wheat futures upwards pre-harvest but as wheat stopped rising, the speculation about bean availability continued to drive prices onward. Early exports, domestic commitments for feed and a reduced quality specification by human consumption buyers are supporting the values which are as high as £212/t ex-farm.

At these values, aquaculture may start to seek alternatives in the form of imported peas, available at a discount to beans of £8-£10/t. Other feed users may also switch which will slow bean demand.

For human consumption beans, the Egyptian market represents an annual opportunity for approximately 700,000 tonnes beans. Realising that if they stuck to their normal specification, buyers would not be importing from the UK in 2019, relaxation of standards has taken place.

Beans are now being taken for export with as much as 20% Bruchid damage. The cost of this is in the price. Top quality beans can command as much as £265/t ex-farm. Where up to 20% damage is seen deductions down to £230/t ex-farm or lower can be expected.

It is anticipated with crop 2018 beans in short supply from all markets and values rising dramatically, Egyptian buyers will in part switch to Russian chickpeas and lentils which are currently available at lower cost.

Most of the current combining pea crop is already grown on contract so movements are proceeding without significant drama. Generally, crop 2018 has produced good quality, which is in part compensating growers for lower yields.

The lower yield has accelerated the balancing of supply and demand and this is reflected an increase in 2019 crop contract values.

Demand for marrowfat peas is good and open market values for good quality peas are currently around £275-£300/t ex-farm depending upon location and colour quality.

New crop contracts are available for crop 2019 with values at around £350/t ex-farm before any deductions for quality issues - and with bonus options, that could bring as much as £380/t. These levels are starting to attract increasing interest in crop 2019.

Typically, deductions start at 10% bleaching with around £3/t for every 1% bleached over 10% to a maximum of 30% bleaching. At 30% and beyond the prices are generally out of contract.

As always, to secure the best prices growers need to remain focussed on quality with this crop.

The market for large blue peas has been relatively quiet to date but is now starting to move with values for open market blues up to £255-£260/t ex. This is highly dependant upon quality (colour, size, cooking and soaking ability) and lower quality might yield £220/t ex-farm or less.

New crop 2019 contracts have been revised upwards slightly and are available based on quality criteria being met and a min/max value of £225-£275/t ex-farm. 

Yellow peas are most affected by the world trade in peas and therefore international price fluctuations. There is a limited domestic market and yellows are receiving little trade interest at present. Offers might be received at around £205/t ex-farm.


International Pulses

North America

The Canadian Principal Field Crops report advised in September that 2017-18 yellow pea exports were 22% lower due to lower shipments to India, and whilst partly offset by exports to China and the US, domestic use fell too. Stocks increased and average prices fell.

For 2018-19, dry pea production in Canada is estimated to fall a further 12% from 2017-18 as harvest area declines. However, total supply is forecast to fall by only 3% due to stockholding. Exports are forecast to decrease to 2.9 Mt. The average price is expected to be lower than 2017-18.

The USDA forecast the area seeded to dry peas to fall 22% from 2017-18, to 0.9 million acres. Assuming normal abandonment and yields, dry pea production is forecast by AAFC to rise to 0.7 Mt. The US has been successful in exporting small amounts of dry peas to markets in China and Turkey.

In a nutshell, North American pea production is competing for reduced export markets with the ongoing restrictions to the Indian market. Stocks are rising and, as a result, depressing yellow pea prices in international markets.


The Baltic bean crop has suffered, as the UK crop, and has also experienced Bruchid damage. Exports to Egypt have been first on the water but are believed to be in short supply and may already be exhausted.

France appears to have by and large given up on the human consumption bean exports and is focused on shipments for aquaculture, processing and animal feed. As values in the UK market rise France may be a source of imports.


Doubt about their bean crop continues. Drought has resulted in much of the northern crop being fed, and the impact on the southern crop is likely to be reduced in yield with some growers wondering if their pulse crops are worth pursuing this year.

As previously reported, beans are already being offered at a premium over UK crop of US$120 per tonne.


A week-long festival of dal, the first ever British Dal Festival, saw hundreds of people celebrate the diversity of dal from the traditional dals of the Indian subcontinent to pulse dishes from around the world, such as refried beans of Mexico and fava dips of Greece and Britain’s pease pudding or mushy peas.

Festival chair, Nick Saltmarsh, a member of festival initiator and funder the British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA) said: “Bristol’s enthusiasm and support for the first ever British Dal Festival went way beyond our already high hopes. Our aim was to celebrate the cultural richness, flavour, versatility and affordability of dal as well as the health, nutrition and environmental benefits of the pulses that make it. We are grateful to everyone who took part in the festival - the restaurants on the Dal Trail, street food traders and food producers at the market and Grand Dal Finale, everyone who came along to celebrate and feast on dal, our hard-working festival team and volunteers, and partner organisations 91 Ways and Incredible Edible.”

Between 19-25 March, Bristol residents and visitors had the chance to savour special dal dishes on the Dal Trail of over 30 of the city’s restaurants, from Gopal Curry Shack’s “Roald Dal” to “Sister's Peeli Dal and Mum's Kaali Dal and Grandmother's Moonghe De Miti Dal dessert” at Pipal Tree Cafe. Kirpal Singh, owner of the Pipal Tree says: “It was wonderful to be part of the Dal Trail and have the opportunity to share our family dal recipes - favourite dishes from three generations of daughter, mother and grandmother - with both our regular and new customers. Dal for is for us one of the most eaten and enjoyed foods.”

Community organisation 91 Ways to Build a Global City joined forces with Refugee Women of Bristol to host a lunch on Tuesday 20 March. Cooks Amina and Negla produced a delicious dal feast for 85 women using British-grown pulses donated by Hodmedod and veg from Total Produce. The women shared memories, swapped recipes and talked about both the delight and benefit of eating dal. Kalpna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways, said: “It was such an uplifting event and once again showed the power food has to unite us. Dal is an ingredient common to many countries and in many parts of the world it is a staple food which nourishes millions of people every day in daily meals, while also having a place at feast times. It is held with great respect as it is seen as the food that is accessible to all - whatever your circumstance.”

Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Visitors to Wednesday’s weekly Bristol Farmers Market around St Nick’s were invited to enjoy a free dal lunch cooked up by The Thali Cafe and 91 Ways on Wednesday 21 March. Over 200 portions of moong bean and split yellow pea dal were served in a little over an hour.

On the Thursday volunteers led by community growing organisation Incredible Edible Bristol sowed lentils,peas and beans in their Millennium Square plots, demonstrating the range of pulses that can be grown in the UK, from fava beans to carlin peas, on farms and in allotments and gardens. More pulses will be planted at sites across Bristol over the next few weeks and the growing crops tended through to harvest in August and September.

Food writer and cookery teacher, Jenny Chandler created a free to download Dal Lesson Plan to get children cooking dal and learning about the benefits of pulses in schools. Jenny ran workshops in two Bristol primary schools and one at the Bristol Hospital Education Service during the week of the festival. She said: “The classes were tremendously rewarding - working with herbs and spices, learning about the nutritional value, sustainability and versatility of pulses. The magic of dal really does work on so many levels.”

The British Dal Festival culminated in a Grand Dal Finale at Paintworks, Bristol which saw almost 1,000 visitors enjoying and celebrating dal in all its diversity. Cookery demonstrations of dals, typical accompaniments and other pulses dishes were given by chefs and cookery writers including Romy Gill of Romy’s Kitchen; Krishna Dutta, author of The Dal Cookbook; and cook, food writer and cookery teacher Jenny Chandler. There were opportunities for children to cook and spice their own dal, create traditional man-dal-as to represent the universe with pulses, and to make colour rangoli paintings in the courtyard.

The sun shone and visitors feasted on dal in the courtyard from street food traders Spice Box, Thali, Gopal’s Curry Shack and Bombay Brrrrunch. Inside 16 food producers offered an incredible range of dal ingredients, accompaniments and other produce. 91 Ways volunteers and donors had baked a huge selection of delicious cakes and exotic sweets to sell with coffee and tea to raise money for their work with Bristol’s diverse communities. Richard Osborn of Fresh Range, a Bristol based food delivery service said: “It was warm, friendly and positive atmosphere: Everything I’d have expected from a Dal Festival!”

Finally, the British Dal Festival crowned two Champion Dals - Guy Morgan with his "Please sir I want some more! dal" in the home cook category and street food trader Spice Box with a delicious chickpea dal in the professional category.

The competition was judged by an expert panel of Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, British Edible Pulse Association (BEPA) resident Franek Smith and cookery writer and teacher Jenny Chandler, who said: “It was wonderful to see so much enthusiasm from dal lovers to share their personal recipes and the standard was superb. The winning dals both had that magical combination of comforting, creamy texture with great blend of aromatic spices.”

The Festival was an initiative of the British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA) whose President Franek Smith says: “It was amazing to see such widespread passion for dal and excitement about the British Dal Festival. We are delighted that so many people came together to support the festival by sharing, feasting on and learning about dal. We hope to make the British Dal Festival an annual event.”

Follow British Dal Festival:
Twitter @BritishDalFest
Instagram @BritishDalFestival
Facebook /BritishDalFestival

Bristol and South West: Caroline Peel - 07771 957225 -
National: Polly Robinson - 07966 475915 -

Film-maker Jason Taylor produced and donated a 1-minute film of Sunday's Grand Dal Finale available to view here:
If you use the video please credit The Source:

Available to download from Google Drive:

CREDIT: Rebecca Noakes Photography