Turkey is getting ready for “International Year of Pulses 2016”
Jan 12, 2016

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” in the 146th General Assembly gathered in Rome.

“Healthy Diet with Pulses Healthy Life Platform Project” supported as a part of Istanbul Development Agency’s “2015 Financial Assistance Program” and managed by PAKDER (Tarım Ürünleri Hububat Bakliyat İşleme ve Paketleme Sanayicileri Derneği) has been started. ITU and YTD Food Engineering Departments participated in the Project as partners.
Prof. Dilek Boyacıoğlu from Food Engineering Department stated that the project to raise awareness to consume pulses such as lentil, cicer, pea, bean, broad bean and black eyed pea in an unconventional way had been started.

Boyacıoğlu expressed that pulse consumption habits in our country would change in the near future and we would get acquainted with new tastes like lentil hamburger and cicer chips.

Prof. Dilek Boyacıoğlu and Hakkı İsmet Aral, PAKDER Chairman, explained the details of the project:

“Our Pulse consumption habit will change”

Prof. Boyacıoğlu stated that the aim of the Project was to raise awareness that pulses could be consumed other than traditional ways by using audio and visual technologies about the benefits of pulses in terms of health. Boyacıoğlu stated in order that food industry can manufacture these products, research to create new combinations consisting value-added food from pulses was being conducted. She continued saying: “Our purpose is to raise awareness among consumers by emphasizing the effects of these convenient, nutritious, low-cost products on health. Placing pulse consumption in diets more and increasing the use of value-added products in food industry are our goals. Today, obesity is a major health problem. We believe these products will positively affect the fight against this problem. Like in other developed countries, the scientific studies about pulse products are increasing dramatically and this motivates many researchers to work on the subject.”


Green Lentil Hamburger

-With this Project we are not going to serve pulses as traditional – cicer, lentil, bean, rice- food. We will eliminate this perception from people’s mind. It is because when asked about pulses, people would say “grandmother’s dish”. This perception is very dangerous for a food group. From now on, this perception will be a thing for the past.
-In Turkey and also in the World, women exist in business life more and spend less time in kitchen. There is a tendency to fast consumption in every area of life. We should adapt to fast life by eating right things without abandoning health. People no longer have time to wet pulses a night before and cook them the next day. However pulses are very important in daily nutrition habits. For this purpose, with this project we are going to create pulse dishes and solutions fitting fast food culture.
-We will say “We also exist in this trend”. We are going to use green lentil flour in pizza dough. I will cook green lentil hamburger. We will try to be in the fast consumption sector with different food groups and meet the individual needs of today.
-The purpose is not to say “Eat beans, eat cicers”! We know that these approaches will not get us anywhere. People of course eat beans and cicer, but unfortunately they do not eat enough.
-For example, we conducted a survey with 1600 young people under the age 25. According to this study, none of the young people has cooked pulses until the age 25 and we were surprised.

Laboratory Support from ITU and YTU

Boyacıoğlu explained the work steps as a part of the Project: “ITU and YTU Food engineering Departments will contribute to develop ready-to-use products from pulses like red lentil, cicer, green lentil in scientific research as well as to examine the health effects of pulses and powder pulses products. To raise awareness in public, a pulses documentary called “Fokurdayan Tencere – Boiling Pot” will be prepared. This pulse thematic nutrition program will be advertised to public by showing in schools and through columnists and dieticians against obesity. Solutions and research activities regarding the sector will be conducted. We are targeting to share the information and technology we produce with public and all institutions.

bakliyat ile saglikli beslenme projesi

Chairman Hakkı İsmet Aral explained the details of the Project which is conducted by the leadership of PAKDER, partnerships of ITU and YTU, and financially supported by ISTKA. He emphasized in his speech that consuming pulses was very important for health. He continued by saying: “Pulse products have been the subject of research due to their beneficial effects on health. Pulses including lentil, cicer, pea, bean, broad bean and black eyed pea contain high protein, vitamin, minerals and diet fibers which are important for our nutrition. Pulses have a significant place for more than two billion people’s diet in the World. Consuming pulses provides protection against cancer, Type2 diabetes and obesity and has been associated with intestine system and cardiovascular health. The development of technology and conditions of the modern era resulted in the changes in our eating habits. When this chance combines with immobility due to working conditions, way to lots of diseases starting with obesity has been opened. Obesity which is a chronic illness is accepted by World Health Organization as one of the ten most dangerous diseases.

“Decrease in pulse production is a matter of concern”

“Prime Ministry’s Notice “Healthy Nutrition and Active Life Turkey” published in 2010 to prevent obesity drew attention to the subject.” Aral continued: “It should be noted that a qualified and long life depends on sports as well as healthy and balanced diet. In this respect, it is utmost important to consume pulses which are rich in vegetable protein and carbohydrate both in traditional and innovative ways. The purpose of this Project is to introduce these innovative ways to provide direct consumption and indirect use of pulses in industry.”

Aral emphasized the decrease in pulse production in our country by sharing statistics of World pulse production in the las ten years. “There is 17% increase in World commercial production and 20% increase in pulse export volume when import-export numbers are examined. Unfortunately we cannot see this trend in our country. There is 43% decrease. The most important reason for decrease in pulse export in Turkey is that in 2014 pulse products planted decreased to 7.4 million decars which was 20.3 million decars in 90s. The pulse production was between 1.6 million to 1.8 million tons in 90s, however today it unfortunately reduced to 1 million tons.” He added that this situation was a matter of serious concern.