“Beans is How” will launch at COP27 to promote the nutritional, environmental, and economic benefits of beans, peas, pulses, lentils and legumes.
November 10, SHARM EL-SHEIKH – Doubling global consumption of beans by 2028 could sustainably and affordably reduce malnutrition while helping those struggling during the cost-of-living crisis, according to the new campaign.
A diverse coalition of research institutions, companies and non-profits have founded an initiative called Beans is How to demonstrate that increasing bean consumption worldwide can help build a healthier, fairer, more robust food system.
The campaign has been organised by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub with a coalition of founding partners, including The Kraft Heinz Company, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA).
Evidence suggests a rising population and dietary shifts will mean global demand for protein will increase by almost 10 per cent from 2020 to 2027. Beans provide a major source of plant-based protein that also offer environmental benefits for soils, yet on average, just 21g of pulses are eaten per person per day compared to 112g of meat, which has a significantly greater environmental footprint.
“Everyone is worried at the moment – how can we make nutritious meals for our families when money is tight? How can we help tackle the climate crisis? How can we do something about the 3 billion people on this planet who are malnourished? Beans is How we do it,” said Paul Newnham, Executive Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub.
“Beans have always been the food we eat when there is nothing else in the cupboard. Our amazing chefs can’t wait to show people how to reimagine beans. They are delicious and diverse with hundreds of incredible varieties.”
Beans provide a unique solution to our climate, health and economic challenges. Beans release 90 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than some animal proteins. Beans also contain key proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for nutrition. At the same time, dried beans only cost on average $1.00 per 500 grams.
“I love beans - I cook beans, I grow beans, I eat beans. I’ve never met a bean I didn’t like. They are little nuggets of greatness and they have the potential to improve the lives of people around the world,” said Sam Kass, one of the campaign’s chief bean champions and former White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition.
“If we collectively focus on this one product that we know is good for us, we can really make a difference. To do that, we’re going to need everybody’s help - we’re going to need chefs to put more beans on their menus and make beans sexy,” he added.
In addition to their nutritional value, beans, peas, pulses, lentils and legumes are unique for their ability to fix nitrogen in soil, which improves soil health and reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizer, lowering the environmental footprint of food production.
In recent years, bean breeders at the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) have developed more than 500 new varieties of beans to suit the different needs, tastes and preferences of both farmers and consumers. This includes further improving their nutritional quality through biofortification. Almost one-fifth of the population in Rwanda are now eating iron-enriched beans, which provide 80 per cent of the iron needs of young children and non-pregnant women.
“Beans, legumes, pulses and peas come in thousands of varieties. Beans are an excellent crop for farmers to grow, and they are rich in proteins and iron,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, former Special Envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit and a Bean Champion.
“Beans are good for you - every time you eat beans, you’re supporting a family to have a better income and better nutrition and you are helping soils regenerate. This is a super crop in every sense” added Dr Kalibata.
Beans is How will mobilise supporters from across the public, private and research sectors to promote the benefits of pulses for people and the planet. The full list of founding partners includes Bold Bean Co., CGIAR, Chef Ann Foundation, Chefs' Manifesto, CohereFoodLab, Conscious Impact, EAT, Gcwalisa, the Global FoodBanking Network, Grow It Yourself, Hodmedod's, ISS Guckenheimer, The Kraft Heinz Company, the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, the UN Foundation, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
“Beans have been a part of the Kraft Heinz portfolio for more than 100 years, and are the foundation of our mission to make tasty, nutritious and planet-friendly food accessible for all. We’re thrilled to be part of this global coalition to raise awareness around the power of beans everywhere,” said Cristina Kenz, Chief Growth and Sustainability Officer, International at The Kraft Heinz Company, founding partner of the coalition.
Alongside the official launch, a Bean Science and Innovation Advisory Council, featuring experts from academia, research, nutrition, agriculture, innovation and technology, and economics, has also been convened to determine how the target of doubling consumption can be measured and achieved.
The campaign will officially launch on Saturday, November 12 at the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub Pavilion at COP27, followed by a specialist session with members of the Bean Science and Innovation Advisory Council on Monday, November 14 in the Food and Agriculture Pavilion.
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Notes to editors
Additional media resources for the Beans is How campaign are available online.