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

  click to open/download the latest PGRO Pulse Magazine
Forthcoming Events (inc International Year of Pulses 2016)


August 2016


"Early indications for the pulse harvest are in line with the early cereal and oilseed rape crops, with 2016 looking like a significantly lower yielding year than 2015," comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. "The 2015 pulse harvest was significantly above average, and with growers possibly anticipating around 20% less than the norm in 2016, the performance year on year may vary widely. The generally cold and wet spring - broken by a short heat wave in early July before returning to cool and damp - is believed to have been the general cause. Only in August has the country seen a prolonged warm drier spell that was too late to help yields."

Early pea quality is reported as variable. Those seen so far have been generally good, with the usual early post-harvest issues affecting soakability negatively affecting value, although these are often ameliorated by storage.

Early winter bean samples by contrast have often been poor with mall grain size, shrivelled skin texture and surface staining - fit only for feed. However, as always, there are also reports of good yield and quality. Growers who remained on top of disease have generally fared better with more visually impressive samples and yields averaging around 5t/ha.

With spring bean harvest barely underway it is far too early to comment on total availability or to assess UK quality from 2016, although very early crops are reported at around 5t/ha with small grains.

September will see the publication of the DEFRA June survey and give the best guidance we have to the total crop area sown to pulses in 2016.

Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that the Australian harvest of 2015 was the largest to date with excellent yields. This and good prices has encouraged growers to stick with the crop and a similar area of almost 290,000ha is in production for 2016, with South Australia and Victoria being the leading states for production. Early indications were promising for growers and optimism remains high for another large crop.

Canadian harvest of peas is anticipated to be up to 20% larger than 2015 and this is expected to continue to put downward pressure on prices once crop outturn is fully understood.

Baltic origin bean crops were reported in good heart and it is believed that quality will again be good, putting this source in direct competition with the UK and Australia for the export market.

France continues to report poor quality beans, but their pea production has been significantly better, particularly in the south. Production areas in the north have been compromised by disease control issues exaggerated by the wet weather conditions throughout the season.

Feed beans continue to be valued at circa £145-150/t ex farm keeping in line with the base feed wheat price. This is likely to come under pressure as growers seek to offload early crops to feed, but there has been little trading activity ahead of the main harvest. 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.

Human Consumption beans are trading at a premium of £25 over feed beans, there is again little movement.

The main Egyptian market remains strapped for cash, despite a 13% devaluation in the Egyptian Pound in the spring, and pundits are forecasting a further devaluation as likely. A 15% fall in the value of Sterling since this time last year will assist in UK exports versus the competition, but buyers need to emerge. Exports are likely to be slow to get going. The priority for Egypt's currency managers is their demand for almost 12 million tonnes of imported wheat in the coming year.

Demand from the Sudan (a much smaller market) is being negatively affected by their continued access to old crop which will ease in the coming weeks.

Turning to combining peas, the general view for marrowfats was that the crop 2016 was mostly already wrapped up in contracts prior to harvest. There are, however, early indications that some free market productions are being offered. There is currently little market for additional availability and sellers might anticipate lower valuations than those produced on contracts agreed before sowing. Nominal values for free market productions are circa £235/t depending upon location and assuming good quality.

Large blue pea yields have been slightly better than marrowfats and the weaker sterling values have helped increase export enquiries. With no carryover of any significance, new crop values are better than the old. Circa £200/t ex could be expected for top samples for human consumption, with £15 discount for micronising feed business.

Yellow peas remain of relatively high value - similar to the large blues - but this is considered highly likely to be temporary bearing in mind the anticipated size of the Canadian crop.

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.