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



“It is uncertain what effect the changing environmental conditions have had on grower decisions - but it may be negative,” comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. “A number concluded that a very late April or even early May sowing might be risky for beans, and enthusiasm for marrowfat peas was already known to be waning following a run of lower prices and quality issues.

“On a positive note, although later sowing is generally considered less than ideal, this year’s crops have been sown into plenty of moisture and rapidly warming soils. Emergence has been swift and the subsequent exposure to high light levels and relatively warm May temperatures has meant rapid development. At this stage the crops generally look good. We should all hope for favourable growing conditions to continue as market demand for pulses - especially beans - remains strong.

A number of indicators bode well for the new crop marketing opportunities: 

  • Recent currency movements and a weakening Sterling mean that the environment for exporting is increasingly favourable.
  • Australian stocks of beans are reported to be running down rapidly. A recent increase in their prices of US$ 50 per tonne reflects decreasing availability following a smaller crop.
  • Reports of a poor - even disastrous in places - start to the growing season in Canada, where they too had a very prolonged winter, suggest the potential for reduced crop performance this year.
  • Baltic bean producers experienced a similar spring to the UK, although crop areas remain similar to last year and their stocks are empty.

 New crops trades have been few and far between at this point, although sellers and buyers can find one another.”

Franek Smith, President of BEPA, reports that regular bulk vessel exports for both human consumption and for feed beans continued in April with good demand, although trade of old crop produce is now limited in all UK-produced pulse crops. Sellers are few although there are buyers in the feed market. Recently, soya meal has risen sharply and other mid protein product prices have increased too making pulses appear relatively good value.

The lack of sellers and increased demand for UK beans has significantly tightened both domestic and export markets.

The UK feed market for beans has continued to be firm. Support from compounders has maintained values at around £165/t ex-farm, depending upon location, and there may still be some small upside going into the summer. With other European sources having dried up, demand for feed exports remains real, with ability to supply restraining the UK trade.
New crop prospects continue to be speculative with suggestions around £27 over November wheat values of approximately £170/t ex-farm. As always, location will dictate some variability.

For human consumption beans, with little to no new activity in this market due to availability, only small parcels are now leaving the country. Values are at a premium of only +/- £10 over feed and some sellers have viewed the risk (rejection disputes, and payment) over feed not worth taking.

Forward prices for crop 2018 have been available with a premium of £15-£20 over feed beans but this is largely speculation - there are currently few export buyers available to the trade. That said, now the market is tight there will likely be strong demand for the new crop once it is harvested with the prospects for good selling opportunities in the early autumn.
There remains little activity with combining beans. It is believed that the surplus of poor quality peas in the market is gradually easing and that prices will rise further as supply starts to balance with demand.

For marrowfat peas, some growers with storage and better quality samples appear to have taken the decision to wait for prices to rise from the current levels of £250/t ex-farm hoping prices might start at least into the £300s.

Poor quality produce remains destined for lower value markets at around £180/t ex-farm.

The market for marrowfats is limited - it is strongly oversupplied and growers should think long and hard before growing these peas without a contract.

Old crop for large blue peas fell slightly since as forecast in the last report. Current values are circa £220-230/t ex-farm for good quality. Lower quality canning samples are likely to be nearer £170/t ex-farm, and less if only for animal feed.

Unlike marrowfats, blues are a more versatile commodity for the trader with more market outlets both domestically and for export.

There is little immediate interest in trading the new crop and speculation is that prices are likely to start at around £235/t ex-farm for the best quality samples.

Recently released data from Defra based upon the BPS records for the period 2015-2017 in England confirms that bean crop area has been increasing. Spring bean area has declined a little, but has been more than made up by a switch to winter bean cropping, which has risen by over 50% across the three year period. It also shows that average farm bean crop area has risen very slightly too. Whilst pea crop area and area per farm rose in 2016, the total fell by around 9,000ha in 2017. However, although grower numbers fell by approximately 10%, average area grown per farm remained much the same as in 2016. Total pulse crop area in England fell by 2,000ha in 2017 but remained almost 4,000ha ahead of the 2015 crop area at 249,405ha.




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