In part one of this two-part series, we told you about how the dry bean industry is providing a product that’s nutritious and can play a key role in diversifying meals.
Brad Barnes, consulting and industry programs director for the Culinary Institute of America, says that beans don’t come without their problems to the consumer.
“Beans are hard to cook perfectly, they’re inconsistent in quality and supply, user understanding of how they function and what they can bring to a meal is minimal,” he said during the BeanCon21 virtual convention. “They’re not always easy to get and they’re not always easy to get in the form that we want them. Many times we resort to cans with water, salt and beans. That can be an okay solution—it’s part of our business [and] it’s alright to be there—but there’s other ways to sell the product.”
Barnes adds that the industry should think about new approaches and ways to boost business.
“Consumer demand is slowly increasing to be desiring the things that beans can bring to a meal, and those are really interesting as part of nourishment,” he said.
The CIA and the U.S. Dry Bean Council are working together on innovation in the dry bean market.
“We’re working on some interesting ways to expose good news to people that use products to expose assets to those people, to engage those people, help chefs really learn how to use beans to their advantage more,” said Barnes.
Barnes says whole beans and bean flours will continue to be a way to diversify, but there is also an opportunity for fried foods.
“People love fried food—they’re going to continue to love fried food,” he said. “Breading systems could be made from beans, and that goes all the way from predust to batters to the breading crusts themselves.”
Through different ways of using beans, Barnes says beans can become a more prevalently used ingredient.