The versatility of pulses: Are consumption and consumer perception in different European countries related to the actual climate impact of different pulse types?

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Pulses support sustainable production and consumption. Their culinary versatility creates a wide range of possibilities for new products, bridging consumers’ preparation barriers. However, this potential is often intangible for consumers who have little knowledge about plant-based foods. Based on an online survey in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom (N = 4,226), this study aimed to investigate consumer utilization and perception of pulses as a versatile, low-carbon food relative to objective life cycle assessment (LCA) measures of 12 pulse types. The most popular pulse types, with specific preferences across countries, were lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas, typically consumed at home and purchased in dried or canned form. Respondents associated pulses with being healthy and natural, but sustainability was not an essential attribute related to the perception of pulses. LCA revealed a low environmental impact caused by pulse production and consumption, with marginal variations between types and produce. Respondents were unaware of the nuances in the environmental impact of different pulse types, generally perceiving uncommon pulses to be relatively more sustainable than others. In conclusion, a low consumption combined with a misconception of pulses’ environmental impact may demand different promotional strategies including clear communication to inform consumers.

TidsskriftFuture Foods
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was financially supported by the European Union Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Training Network “FOODENGINE” [Grant agreement 765415]; and the Horizon 2020 project “FOODRUS” [Grant agreement 101000617]. The funder played no role in the study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, writing the manuscript, or deciding to submit the article for publication. The authors would like to thank Hannelore Goddyn and Søren Bøye Olsen for their help in conceptualizing the questionnaire.

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© 2022

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