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 as the summer heat continues, the overwhelming discussion is about impact on yield potential. With most pulse growers having had little rain for the last 6 weeks, soil has in many places gone from holding 98% of its water capacity to significantly less than 10%.

Whilst the winter bean crop has generally been looking excellent for months, there is considerably more variability in spring sown crops.

Some of the later sown beans - though by no means all - have undoubtedly suffered and are starting to look poor. Others, however, appear to have been quite resilient in the conditions.

Pea crops have also looked good, but those flowering through in the peak heat will be reducing seed set numbers and, in some cases, complete node abortion has been seen on the later flowers.

On the plus side, aphid levels have been low to date and there has been very little disease. Winter beans were exposed to heavy bruchid numbers, but the impact of the later sowing crop and flowering of spring crops is hard to judge so far.

UK Pulses

Franek Smith, President of BEPA, reports that recent crop movements for beans are largely from trades that took place a long time ago, and the trade reports little new activity from old crop sellers at this time. It is believed the supplies are largely exhausted and all eyes are now on the new crop and estimating what it might bring.

For feed beans, hot temperatures mean hungry fish and this growing industry remains hungry for beans – this brings a reasonably secure long-term outlook for growers. The UK stock feed market also remains an enthusiastic user and has so far soaked up all the beans available to it. That said, soya has come down slightly in price, and the availability of other mid-range proteins has increased. Beans have recently risen as high as £175/t ex-farm, but have still to find their value for the main season ahead, hence this is not really news at this time of the year.

Human consumption beans have seen negotiations with UK buyers of bean exports at a stalemate it seems. Buyers are more keenly interested in establishing the area sown, quality and quantity likely from harvest in all production areas. Sellers, on the other hand, are holding out for higher prices. Some early positions were taken at £184 /t ex-farm, but it now seems that even £200/t is not enough to tempt sellers - wary perhaps of the yet unharvested supply potential. Everything is likely to change as soon as the first crops come in. Demand will be there.

There is little news in the combining pea market. The focus for growers has to be on delivering quality – which at this time means hoping that the drying pods are not exposed to alternating wet and dry conditions, and targeting about 18% dry matter average for harvesting. Once harvested, they should be handled gently and slowly dried down to preserve the colour.

Any sellers of old crop marrowfat peas will by now be finding it very hard to find them a home, unless they are exceptional in all critical aspects, colour retention, soakability and cooking qualities. Prices would range from worst to best between £185-£250/t ex-farm. New crop contracts are available for crop 2019 with values at around £300/t ex-farm before any deductions for quality issues.

Large blue peas bring more flexibility for the market destinations than marrowfats, hence are easier to move. The quality criteria remain the same, however, and the price range is perhaps £165-£230/t ex-farm New crop 2019 contracts are available based on quality criteria being met and a min/max value of £200-£250/t ex-farm.

Yellow peas are most affected by the Indian trade tariff impositions as yellow/white peas compete in the international market with larger producers such as Canada, France and the Ukraine. There is no immediate local demand and contracts for 2019, whilst available, are harder to find.

International Pulses

Baltic production areas have experienced mid to high 20oC temperatures and dry conditions similar to the UK. With production within about 150 km of the coast, concerns about the impact on supply are similar to those in the UK.  

Similar problems exist in Germany and central European production areas. 

Australian early crop reports are good, but on a reduced crop area, so there is no immediately larger threat to export opportunities than normal. 

Canadian producers of peas are expecting a 32% drop in exports to India as import restrictions continue and a significant increase in carry over of yellow peas. This will put pressure on the world market, hence premiums of recent times over historic value are likely to be fully eroded.


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