British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Factors influencing pulse consumption in Latin America

Pascal Letermea1 and L. Carmenza Muũoza2

a1 Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Departmento de Ciencia animal, A.A. 237 Palmira (Valle), Colombia

a2 CIAT, Departamento de Biotecnología, A.A. 6713 Cali (Valle), Colombia

Abstract

In Latin America, pulse consumption ranges from 1 kg/capita per year (Argentina) to 25 kg/capita per year (Nicaragua). Common beans account for 87% of the total. The differences between countries, regions or groups of population within the same country can be explained by the following factors: (1) beans are very nutritious; (2) beans and maize are traditional foods and the habit of consuming them is deeply rooted in many people and communities; (3) the rural population eats more pulses than the urban population, due to geographical constraints that limit exchanges and favour consumption of locally produced foods; (4) income level, beans are still the poor man's meat; and (5) other factors, such as consumers' taste, the constraints on cooking beans, etc. The evolution of the consumption level in the future will depend on the urbanization of the population, access to processed foods and income level. Health issues would be an argument for maintaining or increasing the current consumption level.