Pulses and the Dutch: they seem to have a struggling relationship. The image of pulses is that they are old fashioned, poor man’s food and difficult to make a tasty meal with.

But there is also good news to share. There is a growing group of consumers who have discovered the ‘new beans’ coming from other cultures, like lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans and chickpeas. And, there is the International Year of the Pulses, which puts the pulse where it belongs: center stage. Add to this the fact that the Dutch Health Council and the Dutch Voedingscentrum (Food Center) advise to put pulses on the menu at least once a week, and you realise that pulses are back on track!

Double the consumption

The Dutch National Pulse Committee is happy to bring so many disciplines and organisations together, just with one goal: double the consumption of pulses in 2020. Pulse producers, national health- and food organisations, influencers in sustainability, retail, caterers, chefs: they are all at the table to share their knowledge and influence to work n that goal. In order to have a powerful and attractive communication towards the consumer, we created a campaign label for 2016: de Blije Boon (the Happy Bean). All communication for the Year of the Pulses carries the Blije Boon signature.

Kick-off: pulses are fun!

On 6 January, our Pulse Feast was all about the fun and pleasure with beans. Former world champion speed skating Erben Wennemars gave a skating clinic on the wonderful ice track overlooking the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, while TV Chef Mathijs Vrieze prepared lovely warm pulse dishes, served from the Blije Boon Foodtruck. A news video was shot during that day which was distributed through all big news channels online. In total, our PR campaign already generated over € 1.5 million of free publicity value for the International Year of the Pulses and the Blije Boon campaign. So: pulses are becoming ‘hot’ in Holland!

Get inspired!

Our Blije Boon activities are all directed towards inspiring the consumer to include more pulses in their weekly menu. The Blije Boon Foodtruck visits supermarkets, catering locations and food festivals, with free tastings. We created a recipee booklet which is given away for free during our events. And we co-operate with food blogs and food influentials so that the consumer is inspired with wonderful and tasty ways to eat more pulses.

On 29 February, the US Embassy organised a pulse tasting event for the Dutch media – with the same goal as we have: stimulating pulse consumption in the Netherlands. In the wonderful surroundings of the private residence of the US Ambassador in The Hague, 40 journalists attended the event. The Voedingscentrum shared the insight that in Holland, we eat 1 gram of pulses per person per day, whereas USA consumption is 10 times higher. Blije Boon Ambassador chef Luc Kusters prepared a delicious pulse tasting menu for the press while Yneke Kootstra, our chairwoman of the Dutch National Pulse Committee, informed the journalists of the Dutch campaign. The Blije Boon Foodtruck was present in the backyard of the residence, to share information and give away our booklet.

More to come

The Dutch campaign seems to wear off effect: the first consumption figures of 2016 are extremely promising and the level of awareness for pulses has never been higher. So we will build on this success together with our partners – for the love of pulses!

Follow us at: www.blijeboon.nl, @blijeboon #blijeboon Instagram: Blijeboon

This article was written by Jacqueline Buijs, MVPR.