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Canadian pulses for the world

Cigi will engage with industry on pulse quality during International Year of Pulses

Heather Maskus of Cigi works with customers to show how pulse flours can be blended in foods such as baked goods and pasta.

In recognition of the United Nations declaration of 2016 as International Year of Pulses (IYP), several pulse-related events are planned in Canada and other countries in an effort to draw global attention to the use of pulses.

Themes being promoted include food security, nutrition and innovation; creating awareness; market access and stability; and productivity and environmental sustainability. Pulse Canada together with a committee of industry representatives has been co-ordinating activity in Canada.

“The Canadian pulse industry has come together in a big way to ensure that IYP initiatives lead to increased awareness and consumption of pulses,” says Madeleine Goodwin, Pulse Canada’s IYP co-ordinator.

As part of this effort, the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) will connect with industry representatives to showcase its work with pulses and focus on the quality needs of the food and processing industries. From April 26 to 28, Cigi will offer industry invitees and other interested participants a two-day workshop titled “Practical Use of Pulses in Healthy Foods.” It will explore the health and nutritional benefits of pulses as food ingredients and how they are being used in food applications such as baked goods, pasta, and Asian products.

“We often have a lot of questions about pulses with regard to pulse ingredient quality and really defining it,” says Heather Maskus, project manager, Pulse Flour Milling and Food Applications at Cigi. “This will give us an opportunity to talk to food companies about what quality means and to create a dialogue on what they expect.”

Maskus says Cigi is focusing on the food security, nutrition, and innovation components of IYP. The workshop, funded by Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriMarketing Program, is the first of a two-part series that is also a learning opportunity for Cigi. “Once we have the ability to demonstrate the use of a pea or lentil flour in a bread, for example, and hear directly from food companies on what they think about the quality, we hope to use that information to determine what we need to be delivering as an industry.”

Cigi may also relay feedback from this interaction with industry back to the growers, Maskus says. “It can ultimately help provide direction in terms of pulse varieties that farmers may consider growing, how the growing conditions may affect their crop quality, and how they can specifically market some of their yield into certain food applications.”

For more than 10 years Cigi has been developing expertise with pulses as ingredients, working on projects in its technical facilities on behalf of industry with the aim of increasing pulse consumption and technical knowledge. Work has evolved from primary processing such as dehulling and splitting pulses to milling pulse flours, fractionation of components such as starches and proteins as food ingredients, and investigating how processing techniques affect composition and functionality.

Part two of the workshop series, “Processing Pulse Ingredients for Food Applications,” will be hosted by POS Bio-Sciences and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Sept. 21 to 23 in Saskatoon. The workshop will focus on pulse-processing technologies that include pilot-scale demonstrations of pulse fractionation and extrusion.

“These workshops are for representatives in the food industry involved in product development,  engineering, health and nutrition, and food ingredient processing,” says Rick Green, vice-president of Technology at POS Bio-Sciences.

For more information contact Madeleine Goodwin, IYP Canada co-ordinator, Pulse Canada, at [email protected] or 204-925-3787.

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