British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)uses of pulses

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.

BEPA President, Chris CollingsOur 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!

Chris Collings, President

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Forthcoming Events (inc International Year of Pulses 2016)


July 2016

BEPA press release 03/08/16“The trading of old crop pulses is over with movement of stocks a priority. New crop has received variable reports for both pea and bean crops around the regions,” comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. “Concerns for beans exist with apparent low pod set in some crops. Whilst pod set in peas appears normal, there are reports of low seed numbers. Both of these issues are likely directly related to the very poor weather that had been cold and persistently very wet during the main flowering season.”

Late sown beans without water stress can perform very well but the recommendation for late sown beans is to reduce population density. Later sown crops with high density populations are likely to show poorer performance even in good years.

On the positive side, reports of Bruchid beetle damage have been lower this year - again a factor of the very cool wet conditions during flowering. Post-flowering, cercospora and chocolate spot have been prevalent, and in recent days with some hot drier weather, bean crops are under heavy threat from bean rust disease.

Pea crops are now racing towards harvest in the south and midlands. Growers are urged to focus on timely harvest, careful drying to preserve quality and retain margin potential.

Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that the French bean crop is again reportedly poor – with the French having a terrible time all round. However, French beans will compete strongly in the export feed markets and it is believed that their poor weather has reduced bruchid levels too.

The main European competition for UK pulses will once again be from the Baltic States, where conditions have apparently been good so far and good quality and quantity are forecast.

Feed beans are valued at circa £145/t ex farm, but there are few offers from sellers. Demand from the UK feed industry remains enthusiastic. A significant amount of their requirement has been covered as they aim to ensure continuity of supply.

For human consumption beans, whilst the Sudanese market is again open and there is some demand, Egypt as the main market is still suffering with further tightening payment concerns and the lack of US$. The exchange rate has risen from 8 to 12 Egyptian Pounds/US$ during 2016, restricting import opportunities further.

There is little current or forward trade. Export activity post harvest is likely to be dominated by spot activity. Whilst there are few buyers in the market at present, there is also great reluctance to sell with uncertainty about yields and quality yet to come.

Recent Sterling devaluations will help exports but have coincided with price rises When a human consumption premium is added in, beans are valued at circa £170-175/t ex farm with the usual regional variations.

Turning to combining peas, the harvest for marrowfat peas is eagerly awaited. Growers must to do all they can to preserve quality – especially colour. Free market prices remain estimated at circa £250/t ex, but there are few buyers and less sellers at this stage. Export buyer interest is increasing as concerns about harvest 2016 reach them.

Prices for large blue peas have risen a little recently with awareness of little carry over and suspicions that yields may be down slightly. Prices circa £200/t ex could be available for early sellers of good quality. The weaker Sterling will aid competition in export markets.

For yellow peas, relatively high prices of last year are thought unlikely to be repeated in 2016 as supplies pick up again. This is a small crop in the UK and most production will already be committed to contracts.

20 July 2016

BEPA’s House of Commons pulse promotion tops off International Year of Pulses campaign.

The many benefits of UK-grown combining peas and field beans were given a thorough airing in the House of Commons this week as the pulse industry stepped up its efforts to promote the valuable role these foodstuffs play in nutrition and sustainable food production.

The British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA), which represents processors and end-users, teamed up with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Agroecology and Labour MP, Kerry McCarthy, to host a pulse exhibition for Members of Parliament and key members of the industry on Tuesday (19th July).

It is the latest in a range of BEPA activities to promote public awareness of pulses as part of the International Year of Pulses, designated by the United Nations.

Franek Smith, Vice-President of BEPA, said: “The event has been a huge success for both BEPA and the pulse industry, benefiting everyone from farmer to retailer.

“We came to highlight the value of these often-overlooked foodstuffs to MPs and how they fit into the modern diet. We outlined their value as healthy, high-protein high-fibre foods, the fact they are very affordable and why they should be a regular part of everyone’s diet. We explained how they reduce cholesterol while providing essential proteins and amino acids.

“We also explained the sustainability of these crops, including how they benefit the environment by fixing their own nitrogen in the soil and the key role they play on many modern UK arable farms.”

Guests were able to try UK-manufactured pulse snacks as well as a range of pulse canapes prepared by The Gate Restaurant, Islington, one of the top vegetarian restaurants in the country.

“The general reaction was surprise that these products are available, how healthy they are and how affordable they are,” Mr Smith said.

That knowledge would help spread the message and raise public awareness to benefit the pulse industry, he added. “The aim was to start the education at the top of the public sector, which will cause the news to filter down.”

Farming Minister George Eustice said: “From lentils to beans – British pulses are becoming ever more popular on menus and in shopping trolleys across the country as people increasingly adopt more healthy eating options.

  “As well as playing an important role in health and nutrition, protein-rich pulses are important for food security and environmental sustainability.

  “I’m delighted to be supporting 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.”

Ms McCarthy said: “The British pulse sector has been neglected and overlooked for too long, so I am pleased to support efforts this year to promote our home-grown pulses – to help encourage healthier diets and move towards a more sustainable food and farming system.

“I am delighted to be co-hosting this event with the Agroecology APPG, as part of the UN’s International Year of Pulses, to showcase the best of British pulse growers and suppliers.”

Mr Smith added: “2016 was declared International Year of Pulses by the United Nations to promote awareness of pulses and one of BEPA’s key objectives is to liaise with UK government and other associations to encourage the consumption of home-produced pulses. The IYP initiative has certainly helped us do that.”

Other events in BEPA’s IYP programme have included the London Falafel festival, activities with Kids Country (the East of England Agricultural Society's food and farming education programme for young people) and various school days.

Further activities include a pulses special on the Radio 4 Food Programme. “All of these will help put pulses very much in the public eye,” said Mr Smith.