There are thousands of bean varieties, including kidney, haricot and British-grown fava.

Double your bean intake to save cost and climate

Beans are an affordable, nutritious and sustainable protein crop that could help tackle food, cost-of-living and climate crises, says new campaign backed by chefs, researchers and NGOs.

Doubling the amount of beans we eat could help create a sustainable farming system, help reduce the climate crisis and provide an affordable, nutritious source of protein.

That is the message behind a new campaign called Beans is How, founded by chefs, NGOs and bean suppliers and launched at COP27 as a sustainable food solution.

The group claims that beans can sustainably and affordably reduce malnutrition while helping those struggling during the cost-of-living crisis.

Alongside short-term contexts, a rising population and dietary shifts will mean global demand for protein will increase by almost 10 per cent from 2020 to 2027, the campaign said. Currently, 21g of pulses are eaten per person per day compared to 112g of meat.

“Everyone is worried at the moment – how can we make nutritious meals for our families when money is tight? How can we help tackle the climate crisis? How can we do something about the three billion people on this planet who are malnourished? Beans is How we do it,” said Paul Newnham, executive director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, which helped launched the campaign at COP27 last week.

“Beans have always been the food we eat when there is nothing else in the cupboard. Our amazing chefs can’t wait to show people how to reimagine beans.”

The campaign, which runs on social media and via a website, was founded by a range of groups including independent bean companies like the Bold Bean Co and Hodmedod’s, to multinationals like Kraft Heinz , as well as the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance and a UK consortium of chefs called the Chef’s Manifesto.

Recipes include smoky baked beans, by chef Alice Zaslavaky, and a lentil and bean casserole, by chef Conor Spacey.

Chef and food writer Tom Hunt said: “Satiating, economical and biologically restorative, I’m a lover of legumes for all the nutrients they provide to us and the soil.

“The ‘legume’ family (which includes beans, lentils and peas) are a vital part of a climate-friendly diet, as they require less fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation than many other conventionally-grown crops. Exploring plant diversity is fun, fascinating and leads to new taste experiences. Look closely and you’ll discover the obscure beauty of different individual pulses, each more alien than the next – from vivid pink borlotti beans to variegated kidney beans and green speckled lentils.”

Beans produce significantly fewer greenhouse gases than animal proteins, and they contain key proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for nutrition. Dried beans only cost on average $1.00 (around 85 pence) per 500 grams.

As well as nutritional and cost benefits, beans are a sustainable crop for farmers as they can help replace fertiliser by releasing nitrogen into the soil. But to make the most of this potential, farmers need a market to sell them, created by increasing consumer awareness and demand, as well as new research into varieties for nutrition and flavour.

Agnes Kalibata, former special envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit, said: “Beans are good for you – every time you eat beans, you’re supporting a family to have a better income and better nutrition and you are helping soils regenerate. This is a super crop in every sense.”


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  1. I can highly recommend Hodmedod’s & for so much more than just beans.
    Their sourdough breads are delicious & Wakelyns Sourdough Tin is Organic.
    The oat milk they sell is British, from Glebe Farm in Cambridgeshire made from gluten-free oats grown and milled on the farm. So if you would normally buy the slightly cheaper oat milk from the USA in the supermarkets, you could support a British farmer instead – (it’s just a shame it’s not Organic).
    Hodmedod’s canned Carlin Peas make an excellent British substitute for chickpeas – so one less thing that could be imported. I could go on … take a look at their website.

  2. Beans are so delicious. Just a precaution that a small percentage of people (4%) have an enzyme defect known as Glucose-6-phosphate deficiency (G6PD) and can suffer acute hemolytic anemia which is fatal if not treated immediately. This happens if they eat FAVA beans (broad bean family) or anything using fava beans such as fava bean crisps. The condition is hereditary and people from southern Mediterranean countries and middle east (eg Persia) are susceptible.
    I believe that scientists are trying to grow a fava bean without the anti-nutrients, vicine and convicine, which cause the problem.

    Pamela Dadachanji

  3. More than happy eating beans, but it would be helpful if we could buy some. I’m not talking tinned – I cook with dried. They usually sell in Waitrose for £1.20 for 500g, so I’ll not paying £4 a packet online – not in a year of10% inflation and a 10% loss in value of my pension pot.
    Any ideas? Or have Heinz bought them all?

    1. I get mine from – all organic.
      The more you buy the cheaper they are, but then one more good thing about beans is they keep for ages.
      Incidentally I’m not vegetarian!

  4. buying dried beans is a good storecupboard thing, but you do have to bear in mind the cooking time and fuel used to cook beans can be substantial to a household budget and taking this into account, it can be cheaper overall to buy the precooked tinned beans. These beans are cooked in large batches in really efficient equipment causing far less carbon use per 100g compared to home cooking

    1. As was mentioned a few weeks ago in the comments from one article – it’s a great idea to boil the beans (or whatever) for 10mins, then take off the heat & wrap the saucepan in an old quilt or such like & leave for 2 or 3 hours.
      I have now made quite a few full dishes this way, stews etc & they are well cooked & still steaming hot when I take the lid off – brilliant. No steamed up kitchen either.


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