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Around the World with Dry Bean Market Development
December 20, 2002

The following are reports from the National Dry Bean Council (NDBC) on market development efforts and market news from several countries around the world:

Northerns face competition

Reports from the trade indicate that U.S. Great Northern beans will be facing price pressure in France this year.

French worries about the size of the U.S. crop pushed prices to between $750/MT and $800/MT. This compares to offers from Turkey of between $580/MT and $600/MT, and from China, of $440/MT.

The quality of Turkish and Chinese white beans that are similar to the U.S. Great Northern is reported to be excellent this year. Several French traders who traditionally buy from the U.S. are making special trips to China in the coming weeks to secure deals.

The French trade is aware, however, that the U.S. has a 2001 carry-over of approximately 22,000 MT of Great Northerns, which may become an important source of product for customers who demand US dry beans in the critical buying period of the coming months.

U.S. dark red kidney beans also face the same kind of price pressure from countries that are competing for the French market. 

Kidneys pass test

At the request from a number of French companies, several U.S. producers tested kidney beans for pesticide residues this year.

The results of these tests have shown that U.S. dry beans are in complete compliance with European Union regulations.

Other U.S. companies are emphasizing their ability to offer buyers greater product traceability, again in line with EU safety standards. These factors could play a positive role in tipping the scales in favor of U.S. suppliers when it comes to the purchasing decisions of several key French and EU customers.

NDBC exhibits at SIAL 2002

SIAL (Salon International de lAlimentation) is one of the largest food shows in the world, taking place every two years in Paris during the fall. This years SIAL ran from Oct. 20-24 and drew more than 130,000 food professionals from nearly 200 countries. Once again, the NDBC had a stand in the U.S. Pavilion adjacent to that of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council.

Approximately 5,300 exhibitors participated in the seven different halls that comprise the fair grounds at the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte, north of the city of Paris.

Health, Diversity, Magic!

The NDBC food service promotion, in conjunction with the French food service company, Groupe Flo, began in two EuroDisney restaurants at the end of October. The promotion featured U.S. black beans and blackeye beans, which will be served in the Rainforest Restaurant and the Steakhouse at Disneyland Paris. Groupe Flo is currently printing new menus to support this promotion.

The operation has involved working in cooperation with a French importer, the central buying office of Groupe Flo and the Director of Restaurant Operations at the Disneyland restaurants, not to mention the chefs who developed special dishes for the beans.

At the same time, the NDBC has run a full-colored advertorial in the September issue of Frances leading food service magazine, Néo-Restauration. The advertorial promotes the use of U.S. dry beans in professional cooking under the headline, "Health, Diversity, magic!"

Text reinforces the health benefits of dry beans, while the graphics underscore the fact that U.S. dry beans are a tasty, colorful, versatile ingredient  as well as economical.

The advertorial also offers a reply-coupon that the reader may send to the NDBC representative in France to receive NDBCs media information folder.

The NDBC hopes that this first effort will lead to more promotional actions with food service groups in the French market.

Contact has recently taken place with Elior, a leading commercial food service operator, and Sodexho, the second largest food service group in the world and the largest in France in the institutional sector.


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