Opportunities for Lentils as a Value-added Ingredient within the Food

Janelle Courcelles, Senior Manager, Food Innovation & Marketing at Pulse Canada, will be presenting the talk: Lentil 2025: The Grand Plan at Track II: New Formulations & Ingredients during the  Virtual 16th Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Europe 2020 (13-14 October). Janelle will explore the current status and opportunities for lentils as a value-added ingredient within the food.


Your title of the presentation states ‘Lentils in 2025’: In what ways will the usage/consumption of lentils be different from how we use/consume them nowadays?

Today, lentils are mostly consumed in the whole form and are used as fillers in dishes like soups and stews. As part of Pulse Canada’s lentil strategy, we are working to expand the consumption of lentils into both new markets and new uses. When put into practice, this means we will start to see a greater variety of lentil-anchored options available on menus at restaurants, for example, a lentil bowl. With respect to new uses, our goal is to grow lentil consumption beyond its whole form and expand the value-added processing of lentils into food ingredients such as flour or proteins. By showing their versatility and nutritional benefits, we will start to see more everyday foods incorporate lentils as ingredients.

How can lentils function as a value-added ingredient within foods?

A key highlight for lentil ingredients is their health and sustainability benefits. As a pulse, lentils have low carbon and water footprints and help to contribute to overall soil health. Lentils are also high in protein, fibre, and nutrients, and their consumption has been linked to a number of health benefits. When combined with cereal-based ingredients (i.e. wheat, rice, oats), lentils provide a complete protein score in addition increasing the overall fibre content and positively impacting the nutritional quality of the food. On top of nutritional characteristics, lentils can also serve as a functional ingredient. For example, both lentil flour and whole lentils perform as excellent meat extenders as they are capable of binding water and oil, which retains the juiciness of the final product. The capacity to retain both oil and water, in addition to its high gelling ability, also facilitates the performance of lentil flour in breading and batter applications.

How do you see the lentil protein market growing?

Lentil protein fits well in many of the current trends in food innovation regarding its sustainability and plant-based nature. I personally believe that with this trend will evoke a need for a diversity of protein ingredients, where the lentil protein market will fit well in. You can already see this happening, with many meat alternatives using a combination of plant-based proteins in their ingredient list in order to improve both the nutritional and functional quality of the product. With both a large processing capacity and as a major exporter of lentils, the Canadian pulse industry has already invested into research looking at the processing and functionality of lentil proteins. Although much of this research is still in its infancy, lentil protein will display unique functionality traits that will lead to its growth within the market.

About the Speaker

Janelle Courcelles is Pulse Canada’s Senior Manager of Food Innovation and Marketing. Her role involves supporting growth in the pulse ingredient processing sector through global engagement with pulse flour millers and fractionators. In addition to providing marketing and technical support to processors, she is also responsible for identifying technical challenges in pulse processing and facilitating research partnerships. Janelle received her MSc from the University of Manitoba in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences focusing on the effects of genotype and environment on the milling and end-use quality of Canadian wheat. Prior to joining Pulse Canada, she worked in both sales and technical support of analytical equipment related to food processing.


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