Beans’ newfound culinary kudos is due to a few factors. Firstly, pulses of all kinds, from baked and kidney beans to chickpeas and pinto beans, pack a protein punch and are full of vital nutrients, including zinc and B vitamins. Then, there are cost implications: with inflation still sky-high, consumers look for ways to save on their supermarket shops – and putting beans at the centre of meals is pocket-friendly as well as filling.
Beans are also soil-health heroes thanks to their nitrogen-fixing properties: at the end of their life, they release nitrogen into the air, making it available for other crops without the need for chemical fertilisers. Furthermore, their production results in 90% fewer greenhouse gases than beef production (WBCSD, 2023).
So, FMCG giants, including Kraft Heinz and Unilever, chefs and sustainability advocates have created Beans Is How, a campaign to double global bean consumption by 2028. The rationale behind the collective hinges on beans providing a sustainable, inexpensive and nutrient-dense source of protein as a solution to global food supply challenges.
TikTok is central to the bean renaissance: videos on its Beans channel have garnered 34.6 million views – think everything from a cake made with pinto beans (a historical recipe recreated by @bdylanhollis) to a Barbie-inspired bright pink white bean and beetroot dip from @alfiecooks_.