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)


June 2016

BEPA press release 9 6 16"With crops having enjoyed some significant soil moisture and warmth during the month they have developed rapidly," comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. "Pest and disease pressure has been regional in its intensity with local variability. This spells out the need for growers to be alert to what is happening in their own crops and to attend to the detail.

"It might be an almost tedious message from the trade to growers - but to ensure crops achieve their full potential and deliver the best returns - attention must remain focussed on quality."

Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that trading of old crop pulses is essentially over. Concentration is on the movement of stocks to their destinations and positioning of the new crop.

There is no shortage of competition. The Australian bean crop will continue to present a challenge to the UK exporter - but significantly it is beans of Baltic origin that are taking the early position in new crop trading for the season ahead. The crop in France should also not be forgotten as, whilst their presence in the human consumption market has fallen, they are increasingly significant suppliers to the fish feed industry, especially in Norway.

The Egyptian market looks set to grow a little from 2016 as the crop area for local bean production is reported as down by 5%. Total winter crop plantings have dropped 29% and there has been a switch to alternative cash crops. Faba bean requirements are now 95% imported. National annual demand is estimated at approximately 500,000 tonnes, equating to a consumption rate of approximately 6kgs per person.

Feed bean values are being held in check by the general issues surrounding commodity prices and remaining stocks of old crop still on farm as growers release produce held for seed, or product that was not offered up for the human consumption market in time. Current values remain around £125-130/t ex farm.

New crop commitments to significant tonnage is being made by feed compounders, confirming their acceptance of the feed value of beans in the ruminant diet. Commitments at premium levels of £30 above November feed wheat demonstrate good support for UK producers and continuity in market demand. Interest is also supported by underlying background questions concerning worldwide protein availability, increased demand for pulses of all types and the need of buyers to secure continuity.

The export markets for human consumption beans have effectively closed. There is apparently no demand, with the markets fully supplied and cargos still to ship. Anyone hanging on to old crop of human consumption quality is likely to forgo any premium at this time and sell for feed values. The premium for human consumption is effectively zero.

New crop prices are looking favourable at this time and there is interest in forward commitment. Currently premiums over feed value are around £25-30/t ex farm for the best quality, representing a total value of £160/t ex farm (with significant regional variations) and a premium over November wheat of circa £50/t.

Issues around currency availability are unlikely to be solved any time soon and this recurring theme is expected to once again dominate conversations around trading of the new crop.

For combining peas, with very few open markets for marrowfat peas and few associated buyers, any old crop produce left to trade is nominally valued at around £250/t ex. The majority of new crop has been contracted at between £280-£300/t ex. Increased contracting for 2016 harvest is likely to hold the value of any new crop open market production at current old crop levels, with premiums for the very best samples. Little has changed in the month.

Large blue peas have seen little change in the month - export interest has flattened out and values have levelled off too. All eyes are on the new crop and likely outturns. New crop values are estimated at £160-£180/t ex. The best prices will be achieved for high visual quality with good colour retention.

A shortfall in availability of yellow peas from Canada saw a rise in demand for UK produce. There is no carry over, and this demand is thought likely to be short-lived.

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.