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Cereals Canada technical experts can customize ingredients for different applications.

Cereals Canada is the industry expert when it comes to milling and assessing the quality of Canadian cereal grains. Experts like Lindsey Boyd who is part of a 5-year project that is helping to develop strategies on the incorporation of milled and processed pulses into more end-products.  

Pulses are a Canadian grown ingredient high in protein, but they come with some limitations when it comes to being incorporated in common food products like bread or pasta. “Pulses can have a strong flavour that may be undesirable in some food products.  Nutritionally, they are a powerhouse, but the flavor profile can be challenging,” says Lindsey Boyd, Technologist with the Pulse Science Cluster at Cereals Canada.  

Lindsey Boyd, Technologist with the Pulse Science Cluster at Cereals Canada

“Blending pulse and cereal flours can improve the nutritional quality of the food product. Pulse and cereals flours provide protein and when blended together they can provide a complete protein,” says Elaine Sopiwnyk, Cereals Canada Vice President of Technical Services.  

Currently, the Canadian pulse industry has set a 2 million tonne target for pulses to be put into domestic usage as part of the 25 by 2025 strategy. About 35% of that goal (approximately 685,000 tonnes) is in the form of pulse flours. Euromonitor International, a market research company projects that pulse flour sales are estimated to double by 2025. There are opportunities to increase the secondary processing of pulses in Canada into pulse ingredients such as flours, concentrates and isolates. Companies like Warburtons and others have explored these opportunities in their baked goods.  

The food industry has expressed the lack of consistency and diversity in current pulse ingredients making it difficult to include pulse ingredients in new food formulations. This research is looking at how to increase pulse ingredients in food formulation for the food sector. Research like this supports the industry with information on how to produce consistent pulse ingredients and improves our understanding of how the quality and functionality of different pulse ingredients can impact its suitability for various end-product applications. 

The goal of the five-year project is to develop milling processes that the Canadian pulse industry can use to create a variety of high-quality pulse flour ingredients. This project has been separated into five activities: 

  1. Grading and characterization of whole pulses and milled flour properties 
  1. Evaluation of milling pre-treatments on milling performance and flour properties 
  1. Evaluating the effect of processing of whole pulses and the resulting properties of milled flour 
  1. Evaluating the effect of extrusion on milled pulses 
  1. Product development using pulse flours generated in Activities A to D 

To learn more, listen to Cereals Canada experts Elaine Sopiwnyk and Lindsey Boyd talk about the research on the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Pulse of the Prairies podcast.

This is a collaborative research project between Cereals Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Grain Commission, University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba on the Development of Processing Strategies for Innovative Commercially-Ready Pulse Ingredients for the Canadian Food Sector.  

Cereals Canada received funding through the Canadian Agricultural Program (CAP) AgriScience Cluster Program.

Background information from SK Pulse Growers and Pulse Canada 

A market study was conducted to benchmark current pulse flour usage in the U.S. food sector in efforts to grow incremental demand for over 600,000 tonnes of pulse flour as set out by the Canadian pulse sector’s goal of diversifying markets and uses of 25% of Canadian-grown pulses by 2025. Pulse flour demand has nearly doubled over the last three years to 230,000 tonnes driven mostly by the pet food, pasta, and snacks sector, and is projected to grow steadily at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% over the next three years. Strong growth in the pulse flour market alongside a thriving fractionation industry provides a balanced portfolio of ingredient markets for Canadian pulses. While 95% of pea flour is destined for pet food as a cost effective solution, the study results demonstrate opportunity to target a more diversified growth strategy for lentil flour in a broader range of cereal-based applications where protein quality can be leveraged. An interactive dashboard of flour data has been launched to share the findings. 

Pulse flour sales are estimated to double by 2025 to a conservative value of $25 billion. Euromonitor International, a market research company, explains that the pulse industry is poised for growth as Generation Z has been born into an already plant-forward world and has put increased prioritization on health and wellness. There is a significant opportunity for the pulse industry to address information needs to meet this growing demand for pulse flours. 

The Canadian pulse industry has set a 2 million tonne target for pulses to be put into domestic usage as part of the 25 by 2025 strategy. About 35% of that goal (approximately 685,000 tonnes) is in the form of pulse flours.