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Special Announcement: BeanCon21

The U.S. Dry Bean Council is hosting the first ever global dry bean conference, bringing together dry bean buyers and stakeholders from all over the world.
 
Due to ongoing COVID restrictions, BeanCon21 will be a virtual experience. While USDBC would’ve loved to meet in person, the organization is excited about the opportunity to connect virtually and share the exciting innovations happening in the U.S. and global bean industries with an even broader audience.
 
BeanCon21 is a forum focused on bean innovation, trends and the future of food. In addition to innovative plenary sessions, BeanCon21 will feature opportunities for private business meetings, networking, chef presentations, harvest highlights and more. Check out the agenda.

Dry Bean Value Proposition Study Results

In March, the U.S. Dry Bean Council commissioned a research project designed to identify the value proposition of U.S. dry beans. This is a critical part of the global marketing strategy to help define and tell the story of what makes U.S. dry beans stand out. This information will be incorporated into future marketing plans. 
 
Consumers in Spain tend to display the strongest recognition scores of the various types of beans. Overall, beans are perceived to be versatile, as they are used for many different occasions in each of the EU countries. In Spain and France, they are used as an entrée/in the center of the plate. The UK scores highest “as an ingredient to use in everyday home-cooked meals”, as well as “a healthy addition to their diet/meals”.
 
Get the full details here.

Harvest Filming Underway, Webinars to Follow

Dry bean harvest is in full swing, and farmers are busier than ever. The U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) has have been capturing footage of the action to use it to tell the industry’s story. It will also aid in communicating critical production and quality information with international buyers and other key audiences.
 
When the global pandemic eliminated the opportunity for USDBC’s traditional reverse trade mission, they pivoted and partnered with teams from FLM Harvest and Torchwerks to travel around the Midwest. The photo shoots and interviews include farmers, processors and dealers from four states, including both North Dakota and Minnesota. The content captured will be used for webinars with international buyers, as well as in a dry bean harvest video. USDBC looks forward to sharing the final video later this fall.

The Future is Virtual… For Now

Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council
 
As we approach dry bean harvest, we would normally begin gearing up to receive global buyers across bean country to observe the new crop. We’d also be getting ready for a busy fall and winter trade mission and trade show season to discuss the new crop with our global customers.
 
The good news is – all of this will still happen, the not necessarily bad news is – it will look and feel a bit different this year due to ongoing Covid travel concerns and restrictions. While in person events will not take place, many virtual events are scheduled. The virtual format allows us to add new events, including harvest reviews in other countries, and ultimately allows us to reach more of our target audience.
 
Here are some of our plans over the harvest season:
  • On August 26 we hosted the first review of the Mexico dry bean crop for the Spring/Summer harvest. Subsequent webinars will be scheduled after the harvest.
  • In early September we will hold a virtual trade mission to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
  • In early to Mid September we will host a discussion on trade consultations with the United Kingdom.
  • Next week we will host the first meeting of our newly formed Bean Innovation Working Group
  • In the Fall we will begin a series of webinars on the U.S. dry bean harvest for our global buyers.
  • There will be virtual trade missions to Central America and Colombia/Panama planned before the end of the year.
There will likely be additional events programmed, we will keep you informed, stay tuned.

New Global Dry Bean Supply/Demand Reporting Available

The U.S. Dry Bean Council is developing a new series of reports on global dry bean supply and demand.This information is being to developed to provide insight on global dry bean intentions and production to allow for improved global strategy response and inform important business decisions for our members.The reports will be developed for each major exportable bean type, with the first of the series focused on black beans released earlier this month. The black bean production outlook covers the harvest period in the main black bean producing countries taking into account that tropical and subtropical countries, such as Guatemala and Brazil, have three crops per year, while temperate countries have one crop per year and Mexico has two. Additionally, the report looks at global exports from the main black bean producing countries.
 
This report is available on our members only website and by request.

Dry Bean Scene

The U.S. Dry Bean Council has joined forces with the Culinary Institute of America in a new innovative to promote dry beans during the coronavirus pandemic. Get the details from USDBC Executive Director Rebecca in this week’s Dry Bean Scene on the Red River Farm Network, made possible in part by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

USDBC Completes COVID-19 Global Consumer Survey

The U.S. Dry Bean Council commissioned a study from Rose Research to better understand the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on consumer attitudes, perceptions and behavioral practices towards dry beans in some of our export markets. Specifically, the following areas of investigation were measured and included behavioral patterns from six months ago, currently and six months from now:
  • Purchase frequency
  • Outlets purchasing from
  • Amount spent in a typical month
  • Types of dry beans purchased
  • Purchase intent
The study also looked at whether changes made to shopping habits will continue in the future and the best way to promote dry beans now. A total of 3,771 interviews were completed online, from China, Europe/EU and Mexico.
 
The study concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term impacts on consumer behavior around the world, as many of the consumers indicate that the changes that they’re making today will stay with them. According to the study, dry beans have a number of opportunities to position for success now and in the future. Consumers are more apt these days to be looking for products with a longer shelf life, while alternative sources of protein are also in demand – two key attributes that can potentially differentiate dry beans from other food products/ commodities. The full study with detailed questionnaire results and charts per region is available to USDBC members upon request.

Food Aid Outlook

The Coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on food assistance programs and on global child nutrition. U.S. dry beans are shipped to numerous countries around the world, as they are a staple of many diets and prized for their nutritious value. Nearly 1.5 billion children – more than half of the world’s student population – are being kept home from school due to pandemic response measures. Nationwide school closures are in place in more than 180 countries, while in many others there are localized closures which threaten to become countrywide.
 
In response, the U.S. Dry Bean Council is supporting the idea that school feeding programs need to maintain flexibility and responsiveness to changing conditions for supply and distribution of food and provision of nutrition services, while ensuring compliance with COVID-19 protocols. This may include delivery of meals or take home rations to children who are out of school so they have access to nutritious food. Read more.

USDBC Response to COVID-19

The U.S. Dry Bean Council is up and fully operational during this challenging time for the country and for the entire world. All global events are canceled through the end of May and possibly longer, as the USDBC reevaluates in accordance with global standards and recommendations.
 
U.S. and global staff are all working full time from home offices and keeping global programs running. Programming will be moving to digital platforms in the very near future to make up for the current inability to conduct site visits and in-person trade servicing.
 
As agriculture is considered a critical industry, farmers are working full steam ahead to prepare for dry bean planting and to allow the industry to continue to meet U.S. and global demand without interruption. The USDBC will be communicating more frequently through all social media and digital means.

Dry Bean Marketing Opportunities in Chile

The U.S. Dry Bean Council conducted a market scoping trip to Chile in December 2019 to study recent increases in dry bean imports and new opportunities for the U.S. Interviews with the Chilean dry bean industry as well as official production statistics confirm that domestic dry bean production is half of what it was a decade ago and will not recover since farmers shifted from dry beans to other crops that have higher profit margins, particularly fruits and vegetables.

While Chile used to be an important exporter in the region, it now exports fewer than 2,000 MT of domestic beans a year. Chilean importers are interested in establishing direct relationships with US suppliers and learning more about US dry beans – including quality, phytosanitary measures, varieties, and availability.

Domestic demand is around 30,000 MT with Chile producing about half that amount. The top suppliers are currently Argentina (due to proximity and familiarity) and Canada (largely due to relationships that started with the lentil trade). There is greatest potential for Pintos, Great Northern beans, followed by DRKBs (especially for canning or quality packaging), Black beans (depending on Argentina’s supply and price) and possibly small red beans.
In addition to a dozen packaged brands (both manufacturer brands and supermarket private label), prepared foods are an important market segment and there is growing demand for healthy, non-allergenic, organic and plant-based foods. Prepared beans in Tetrapaks and cans take up the same amount of space in supermarkets as packaged beans. We feel there is potential to establish new export streams of U.S. origin dry beans to Chile and will continue to work on this throughout 2020. Full scoping report is available on the USDBC members only webpage.
 

Bean vendor in the central market in Santiago

(Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council)