Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » East Lansing, Michigan » Sugarbeet and Bean Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395287

Research Project: Utilizing Genetic Diversity within Phaseolus vulgaris to Develop Dry Beans with Enhanced Functional Properties

Location: Sugarbeet and Bean Research

Title: Food industry views on pulse flour – perceived intrinsic and extrinsic challenges for product utilization

item SADOHARA, RIE - Michigan State University
item WINHAM, DONNA - Iowa State University
item Cichy, Karen

Submitted to: Foods
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2022
Publication Date: 7/20/2022
Citation: Sadohara, R., Winham, D., Cichy, K.A. 2022. Food industry views on pulse flour – perceived intrinsic and extrinsic challenges for product utilization. Foods. 11(4): Article 2146.

Interpretive Summary: Pulses are seeds of leguminous crops and can serve as a source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Due to their high nutritive value, a weekly consumption of 1.5 cups of pulses is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for a 2,000-kcal diet. However, whole pulse consumption is low in the US. Barriers to pulse utilization include limited time for meal preparation and lack of knowledge on dry pulse cooking. Pulse flours (milled pulses) offer a broader range of ready to eat or quick to prepare food products such as baked goods, snacks, and pasta. The perspectives of end-users on pulse flours (i.e., the food industry) are scarce in the literature. From breeders’ perspective, however, specific needs for pulse flours by the food industry is an important missing piece of information for developing pulse varieties for flour purposes. This survey study aimed to identify the needs for and the barriers limiting the adoption of types of pulse flours by the US manufacturers making flour-based food products for the food industry. An online survey was administered to 75 food industry professionals whose firms produce food products from regular wheat and/or gluten-free flours. A majority of respondents did not use pulse flours. Yeast breads were the most selected product type for which they are using, used, or would be interested in using pulse flours. Chickpea and pea were the top two pulse flours selected. Flavor, texture, dough handling properties, and market demand were important factors in pulse flour use among food industry professionals who participated in this survey. Individual characteristics that need improvements for specific pulse flour and product type should be studied in future research.

Technical Abstract: Pulses such as beans, chickpeas, peas, and lentils are typically consumed in the whole form, but pulse flours will increase their versatility and drive consumption. Beans are the most produced pulse crop in the United States, but their use as flour has been limited. To expand commercial utilization, knowledge of the pulse flour attributes important to the food industry is needed. This research aimed to understand the food industry’s needs and barriers for pulse flour utilization. Company emails for employees in wheat flour food businesses were purchased from a commercial vendor. An online survey invitation was sent to them via direct email, and a weblink was distributed by pulse commodity boards to their membership. Survey questions asked food manufacturers about intrinsic factors of pulse flours that were satisfactory or challenging, and extrinsic factors for use such as market demand. Of the 75 complete responses, 21 currently or had previously used pulse flours in products, and 54 were non-users of pulse flours. Ten users indicated that there were challenges with pulse flours while five did not. Two of the most selected challenges of end product qualities were flavor and texture. Over half of the respondents were not familiar with bean flour. Increasing awareness of bean flours and their attributes coupled with market demand for pulse flour-based products may be the most important extrinsic factors to increasing use among food manufacturers rather than supply or cost.