Report Highlights:

The United States is a leading supplier of pulses to the Netherlands. Using the United Nations declaration of 2016 as the International Year of Pulses and the recent publication by the Dutch Health Council recommending increased pulse consumption, FAS/The Hague will actively promote U.S. pulses this year. As a nutritious, healthy, convenient, sustainable and affordable food product, we believe the value of U.S. pulses will resonate with Dutch consumers. Traditionally considered a 'poor man's food', Dutch annual per capita consumption of pulses, at about 0.3 kg, is very low

Introduction

Pulses are part of the legume family and cover dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas and lentils. Although there are some pulses used by the feed industry, the focus in this report is on pulses destined for the food market.

The United Nations (UN) declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. An International Year designation provides the opportunity to raise awareness and to celebrate the role of dry beans, chickpeas, lentils and dry peas in feeding the world. Even more importantly, it is a good moment to draw together key stakeholders to highlight the contributions pulses make to health, nutrition, and sustainability.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Health Council, which is the independent scientific advisory body for the government, published in November 2015 new Guidelines for a healthy diet (Richtlijnen Goede Voeding). In these Guidelines, the Council advises to increase the intake of plant protein products. The Council even advises to eat pulses every week. The Guidelines can be found on gezondheidsraad.nl.

The Dutch Dietary Centre (Voedingscentrum) is using these new guidelines to update their Recommended Dutch Daily Diet, also known as the 'Wheel of Five'. The current Wheel of Five dates from 1981 and is out-of-date. It is expected that the '2016 Wheel of Five', which will be presented in March, will stress the importance of eating pulses regularly, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

Market Overview

The Netherlands produces annually about 6,000 MT of pulses, predominantly brown beans. Production takes place in the South-West (provinces of Zeeland and Zuid Holland). An estimated 80 percent of these brown beans are dried and used by the Dutch food industry. The remaining is exported.

The Netherlands is also an importer of pulses. Roughly 80 percent are imports of dry peas and dry kidney beans & navy bean. Pulses are sourced from various countries. There are reported imports from France, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom which, according to industry sources, are re-exported imports from third countries. France is the only country that actually produces pulses. It is a large producer of yellow peas, often destined for the feed industry.

The Netherlands: Pulse Imports by Country (tons)

2012

2013

2014

2014*

2015*

1

France

12,911

13,952

11,745

9,907

6,310

2

Canada

4,511

6,702

9,703

8,830

3,455

3

Ukraine

7,999

10,226

8,941

8,919

903

4

Belgium

913

1,928

8,122

7,885

888

5

China

9,742

11,465

8,075

6,723

6,214

6

United States

5,333

6,063

7,302

6,539

4,785

7

Germany

12,186

5,665

7,072

6,135

9,363

8

Lithuania

2,775

2,213

6,446

1,854

5,069

9

Turkey

2,817

3,330

4,747

4,158

2,934

10

United Kingdom

3,020

3,505

4,423

3,725

1,204

Other

63,331

26,761

14,006

13,007

15,911

World

125,538

91,810

90,582

77,682

57,036

*January - October figures

Source: Global Trade Atlas

The U.S. is a leading supplier of pulses to the Netherlands. Pulses are traded in 22-ton full container loads packed in bags of 25 kg, 50 kg, or 1,000 kg. Around 80 to 85 percent of U.S. pulse exports to the Netherlands are dry kidney beans and navy beans. Another 10 to 15 percent is dry peas. Based on the first ten months of 2015 trade figures, exports of U.S. peas and beans are down while exports of U.S. lentils and chickpeas are up.

The Netherlands: Pulse Imports from the United States (tons)

HS code

Description

2012

2013

2014

2014*

2015*

071333

dried kidney beans & navy beans

4,152

3,992

6,150

5,444

3,700

071310

dried peas

244

1,485

673

628

63

071340

lentils

911

542

433

433

632

071339

dried beans nesoi

0

40

32

32

110

071350

dried broad beans & horse beans

0

0

10

0

0

071320

chickpeas (garbanzos)

27

3

2

2

281

0713

total

5,333

6,063

7,302

6,539

4,785

*January - October figures

Source: Global Trade Atlas

The majority of Dutch pulse imports are re-exported directly or after processing. In 2014 the Netherlands unprocessed pulse exports totaled around 60,000 MT. In addition, the Dutch exported another 31,000 MT of processed pulses. Canned beans (HS200551+HS200559) and canned peas (HS200540) dominate exports of processed pulses.

The per capita consumption of pulses in the Netherlands is low, especially compared to countries in the Southern and Eastern part of Europe. According to the Dutch Health Council, half of the Dutch population even doesn't eat pulses at all. Mainly due to the fact that pulse production in the Netherlands is low and restricted to only brown beans, pulses are not part of the traditional Dutch diet. Eating pulses is often considered as 'poor man's food' and a cheap replacer for meat. The Dutch have a history cooking with rice and pasta-based cuisines and not so much with pulses. Consumers are also in general not aware of the nutritious value of pulses or how to use or prepare them. Total consumption of pulses in the Netherlands is estimated at 5,000 MT annually, or almost 300 grams per person. The most popular pulses in the Netherlands are 'Dutch grown brown beans' and 'imported navy beans in red tomato sauce' followed by kidney beans and chickpeas.

FAS/The Hague believes that the market prospects for pulses in the Netherlands look bright. Dutch consumers, and especially young consumers, are more than ever before looking for food products that are healthy, nutritious, convenient, tasty and sustainable. U.S. pulses meet all these criteria.

Advantages and Challenges U.S. exporters of Pulses Face in the Netherlands

Advantages (product strengths and market opportunities)

Challenges (product weakness and competitive threats)

Dutch Health Council advises consumers to eat pulses every week.

Fierce competition on quality with Canada and on price with France, China, Canada, Eastern Europe, Australia and Argentina.

Pulses are healthy, nutritious, convenient and tasty.

Traditional consumers consider pulses to be 'the poor man's food', as a cheap replacer for meat and as a product without much taste.

There are no tariffs on U.S. pulses and they are in complete conformity with EU regulations.

Consumers often are not aware of its nutritious value or how to prepare and use pulses.

U.S. pulses are non-GMO, high in fiber and protein, and low in fat & gluten-free.

Competition from other plant proteins like specialty and ancient grains.

Pulses have a long shelf-life.

U.S. pulses are sustainable as they require less water, fewer fertilizers and improve the soil by replenishing nitrogen as they grow naturally.

Production of U.S. pulses is expanding.

The Dutch food industry and retail are working together in promoting the consumption of pulses.

Market Sector Opportunities and Threats

Both Dutch food companies and specialized importers of pulses operate on the international pulse market. There are food processing companies that will buy directly from local producers or exporters, while others prefer to source via specialized importers, especially when dealing with suppliers from developing countries.

There are two types of food companies active in the pulse industry. The first group, relatively small, includes businesses that produce small consumer size packages of dry pulses for the food retail, wholesale and HRI sector or export markets. The second, and much larger, group covers food companies that cook and can or freeze pulses; also for the food retail, wholesale and HRI sector or export markets. Most popular in the Netherlands are pulses sold in a can or a jar.