Love those beans!
September 01, 2003
Navies are most popular in Midwest and the Northeast. Average bean use by U.S. consumers of non-Hispanic and non-Puerto Rican descent in 2002: 5.5 pounds per person. Source: USDA Economic Reserach Service
Pintos are most popular in west and south. Average bean use by U.S. consumers of Hispanic descent in 2002: 31.4 pounds per person.
Americans consumed an estimated 2.1 billion pounds of dry beans in 2002-nearly identical to the record-high of 2000. Although the dry bean market has been relatively stagnant the past few years, domestic disappearance in 2002 is estimated to have increased due to such things as the cold winter and the weak economy spurring a move to less expensive sources of protein.
In 2003, production will likely fall, further reducing available supplies. The lower supplies and higher prices expected later in the year will likely prevent a rise in domestic consumption this year.
Estimated per capita consumption of all dry edible beans rose in 2002 to 7.4 pounds per person. This was up 3% from a year earlier, but 2% below the 7.5 pounds consumed in 1999 and 2000. So far during the 2000s, dry bean use is averaging 7.33 pounds per person. This is down slightly from the 7.4 pounds experienced during the 1990s, but remains well above the 6 pounds averaged during the 1980s.
According to the latest survey, dry bean consumption is largest in the southern and western regions of the nation.
Average U.S. per capita consumption of dry beans was 7.4 pounds in 2002. Among the regions, per capita dry bean use was greatest in the West at 12.6 pounds. This was followed by the southern region at 8.2 pounds, and the Northeast, and Midwest--each around 4.0 pounds.
It is no surprise that dry bean consumption varies by age and gender. The greatest consumers of dry beans are adults between the ages of 20 and 59. In 2002, this group consumed nearly 9 pounds per capita. The second leading dry bean consumers were teenagers, with 7.9 pounds per person. Teens represent 11% of the population and consume about 12% of all dry beans. Teenagers enjoy fast food, and are important consumers of refried beans, with boys and girls both consuming about twice as much as their proportion of the population. Teens also consume black beans and navy beans.
Adults over 60 years of age represent 16% of the population and consume 12% of all dry beans. Older adults favor blackeye beans (25%), lima beans (21%) and navy beans (20%), but largely avoid products containing refried beans (1%). Children under the age of 12 represent 18% of the population; yet consume just 9% of all dry beans. Refried pintos and limas appear to be the most favored bean of this group as they consume nearly 12% of the national total for each.
According to survey data, men consume 61% of all dry beans. In 2002, that amounted to 9.1 pounds per capita. Men between the ages of 20 and 59 consume 41% of all dry beans while accounting for 27% of the population, with their per capita dry bean consumption estimated at 11.3 pounds. With the exception of garbanzo beans, adult males were leading consumers of every major bean class. Their largest market proportion was for black beans, with adult males consuming 46% .
The basic patterns by age group for women are the same as for men, except the consumption levels are lower. Females appear to cut back refried bean use (26%) when they reach adulthood, while adult men continue to be the largest consumers of refried beans, with 38% of the total. While garbanzo beans were most popular among adult women (44%), this group consumed 21 to 26% of each of the major bean classes studied. Girls between the ages of 6 and 11, report consuming 8% of all limas, while boys of the same age, account for just 1% of the total.
Most dry beans are purchased at retail stores and consumed at home with a little more than three-fourths of all dry beans consumed at home. Lima beans and blackeye beans have the largest share of at home use, with more than 90% of each purchased at retail for home use. The away from home market includes such places as food service establishments, school cafeterias, and community feeding centers.
Restaurants, excluding fast food places, account for a little more than one-tenth of all dry bean movement. Refried beans, black beans, and pinto beans excluding refrieds, each count on restaurant sales for more than 13% of their markets. Just under 10% of kidney beans are sold in full service restaurants. The survey shows that fast food places (shown in red) only account for 9% of the movement of dry beans. You can see that refried beans and chickpeas have had the greatest success here. More than 40% of all refried beans find their way to consumers via fast food.
U.S. consumers of Hispanic descent account for more than 11% of the population, and rising. It is no surprise to most of you that U.S. consumers of Mexican descent, that's about 5% of the US population, consumed the most beans per capita-an estimated 31.4 pounds per person in 2002. That is very similar to per capita bean use estimates from Mexico. Consumers of Puerto Rican descent consumed 21.5 pounds per person in 2002, followed by other Hispanics at 14.7 pounds. In contrast, U.S. non-Hispanic whites, who make up more than 70% of the population, only consumed 5.5 pounds per capita.
Census data show that 60% of the nation's Hispanic population reside in California, Texas, and Florida. The USDA food intake survey indicated that Hispanics consume proportionately more dry beans than any other ethnic group. While in absolute terms, non-Hispanic whites still account for more than half the total disappearance of dry beans, Hispanics alone consume a third of all dry beans marketed in this country. This helps explain the strength of dry bean consumption in the southern and western regions of the Nation. Hispanics of Mexican descent are the largest consumers of dry beans, with nearly 21% of total volume-that is more than four times their proportion of the population. The nation's Hispanic population is expected to continue rising over the next few decades.
As you may recall, the USDA food consumption survey also indicated that low-income Americans are more frequent consumers of dry beans than others. Household income, measured against the federal poverty level, is classified into four income brackets in the survey. Households in the lowest-income bracket, with income less than 130% of the poverty level (which is the cut-off point for food stamp eligibility), represented 19% of the U.S. population and consumed 27% of all dry beans.
In 2002, those in the low-income bracket consumed an estimated 10.5 pounds of dry beans per capita-the highest among the 4 identified income classes. Per capita consumption declines as income rises, with those in the highest income bracket eating about half that of the low-income group. Because those with incomes at least 3 times greater than the poverty level account for about half of the population, they are still important bean consumers--accounting for more than one-third of all dry bean use.
Because dry beans are a relatively inexpensive source of protein, they tend to be consumed more heavily by the poor than other income groups. As shown here, per capita use of pinto beans, at nearly 6 pounds, was highest in 2002 for the low income group but use declined steadily as income increased. Navy bean use also tended to have an inverse relationship with income, but the decline in use was not as smooth as for pintos.
I think it is important to note that income is not the only factor in the dry bean consumption equation. Dry beans are a culturally important food, especially for consumers of Hispanic descent. Together with African Americans, Hispanics account for a disproportionate share of the poverty population in the United States today.
It should be pointed out that there are varying relationships of dry bean use by class, with regard to income distribution. Black bean and garbanzo bean use rise with income, while blackeye bean use has more in common with pinto beans, in that consumption of both decline as incomes rise. Kidney beans appear to be accepted by all income classes.
Let's compare the per capita use of the five top bean classes during 2002 with selected 5 year averages over the past 30 years. In 2002, black beans maintained the growth experienced since the 1990s while Great Northern beans held their own in the domestic market. Navy bean use continued to struggle in the early 2000s, although use had remained relatively flat over the last 2 decades. Estimated pinto bean use appears to have steadied after growing over the past 3 decades, with use in 2002 just below the 1995-99 average.
Pintos harvested in Northarvest will likely be bought by consumers in the west and south.
Americans consumed an estimated 960 million pounds of pinto beans in 2002-largely unchanged from the previous year and 2% below the 1992 record high. You can see that domestic pinto use appears to have flattened out in the early 2000s-likely the result of recession, changing dietary habits, and the lingering impact of 9/11 on consumer confidence. In 2003, production is expected to decline in response to low prices over the past season, further reducing available supplies. However, exports and seed use are expected to decline in 2003 which could leave slightly greater volume for the domestic market.
When expressed on a per person basis, you can clearly see that the flattening out in the pinto bean use trend has been going on since the mid-1990s. Pinto beans exhibited the largest gain in use between the 1990-94 and the 1980-84 periods-moving up 70% from 2.0 to 3.4 pounds per person. Much of this gain occurred due to the growing popularity of various ethnic cuisines featuring dry beans and the increasing Hispanic population in the U.S. On any given day in the U.S., nearly 4% of the population consumes pinto beans, with another 2% consuming refried beans, which are largely made from pintos. Per capita use of pinto beans was estimated at just over 3.3 pounds in 2002-down slightly from 2001. Pinto use is forecast to remain about even in 2003 as a small gain in expected domestic food utilization is matched by population growth.
It is interesting to note the differences in where consumers buy refried pinto beans and dry/canned pinto beans. For all pintos (refried and others), food service accounts for about 53% of total sales volume. While 80% of dry and canned pintos were considered at-home food, only 29% of refried beans were home foods. Refried beans are heavily consumed in fast food products, with 44-percent of all refrieds eaten at fast food places. Another 17% of refried beans were consumed at restaurant establishments offering table service. Estimates suggest that refrieds account for as much as two-thirds of total U.S. domestic pinto bean utilization.
Who ate pinto beans in 2002? Men are the most important component of the pinto market, with per capita use at 4.3 pounds in 2002-80% greater than that of women. People between the ages of 20 and 59 ate an estimated 4.1 pounds per person, followed by teenagers at nearly 3 pounds per person. Teens represent 11% of the population and consume about 10% of all cooked pinto beans. However, teenagers are important consumers of refried beans (account for 23% of the market), with males and females each consuming about twice as much as their proportion of the population. The popularity of fast food restaurants and Mexican-style food among teenagers likely accounts for the high consumption ratio for refrieds. People who were at least 60 years old ate 2.6 pounds of pintos per person in 2002, with very little of this in the form of refried beans-this population segment only represents 1% of the refried bean market.
According to the USDA food intake survey, pinto bean consumption is highly concentrated in the western and southern regions of the country. More than three-fourths of all pinto beans are consumed in these two regions, thanks to the popularity of both canned and dry-pack bean products. In terms of per capita use in 2002, the West led the way with an estimated 6.8 pounds per person. Pintos are also popular in the South, with per capita use in 2002 estimated at 4.1 pounds. Pinto use is well below the national average in both the Midwest and Northeast. If we break out refried beans from all pinto products, we see that refrieds enjoy a little more acceptance in the Midwest, but no change is noted in the Northeast, where less than 10% of pinto beans are consumed.
Similar to the use trends for all dry beans, the USDA food intake survey indicated that Hispanics consume proportionately more pinto beans than any other ethnic group.
Hispanics of Mexican descent, who account for just 5 or 6% of the U.S. population, are the largest consumers of pinto beans, with more than one-third of the market.
Despite the fact that on any given day, about 4% of Americans eat navy or other white beans in some form, navy bean use continues to trend lower. As you can see, there have been periods where navy use has increased for a few years-the last being in the mid-1990s. These brief gains may reflect introductions of new products or temporary changes in dietary habits. However, basic analysis suggests that navy bean demand suffers from the same phenomenon as most other bean classes--lack of penetration in the food service market. As mentioned earlier, refried beans are the most notable exception.
The USDA food consumption survey indicated that 86% of navy beans are purchased in stores for home use. At the same time, consumers are purchasing an ever-growing volume of meals away from home. Although this may be changing, fewer people now take the time to prepare meals from scratch, which has been tough on sales of dry packaged beans. In any event, per capita use of navy beans was estimated at 1.2 pounds in 2000 with the 3-year moving average also at 1.2 pounds. Domestic navy bean utilization totaled about 320 million pounds in 2000 and is forecast to decline slightly to about 310 million pounds in 2001.
According to the USDA food intake survey, navy beans are more popular in the Northeast and Midwest than in the South or West. More than half of all navy beans are consumed in the Northeast and Midwest, with the lions' share of consumption being driven by canned baked bean products. In terms of per capita use in 2002, the Midwest led the way with an estimated 1.3 pounds per person. Navy beans are also popular in the East, with per capita use in 2002 estimated at just under 1.3 pounds. While navy bean use is around the national average in the South, it remains one-third below the National average in the West.
Who ate navy beans in 2002? As with most bean classes, men are the most important consumers of navy beans, with per capita use estimated at 1.3 pounds in 2002 - 43% greater than female navy bean consumption. Navy bean consumption appears to increase with age with people over the age of 60 showing the greatest consumption in 2002, with an estimated 1.4 pounds per person. People between 20 and 59 were the next largest consumers at 1.2 pounds per person, followed by teenagers at 1.1 pounds per capita. Consumption among these top 3 population cohorts accounts for 92% of the navy bean market. Children under the age of 12 account for 18% of the population but consume just 8% of all navy beans.
Great Northern Beans
Domestic use of Great Northern beans remains remarkably stable compared with other dry bean classes. Average per capita use of Great Northerns has largely remained unchanged over the past 3 decades - averaging 0.43 pounds in the 1970's and the 1980's, and 0.42 pounds during the 1990's. Thus far in the 2000s, Great Northern use is averaging 0.44 pounds per person.
In 2002, with export demand dropping 21%, domestic utilization of Great Northern beans increased 8% to 133 million pounds-this is 0.46 pounds per person and is up slightly from a year earlier. Unfortunately, we were not able to break out Great Northern data specifically in the food intake survey, so there is no further elaboration on consumption.
As you all know, consumer interest in black beans was a 1990s' phenomenon in the U.S. However, to this point in the 2000s, average use appears to have peaked. The 3-year moving average has remained flat since 2000 at just under 0.6 pounds per person.
With the larger crop last fall and lower prices, domestic utilization of black beans was estimated at a record-high 170 million pounds during calendar year 2002. When you think about it, this is pretty amazing considering that until the 1990s, black beans were grown mostly for export, with very little consumed domestically. Domestic use did not even break the 10 million pound mark until 1988.
Unlike the chart we saw earlier for pinto beans, the USDA food intake survey indicated that white Americans consume proportionately more black beans than any other race or ethnic group. Hispanics other than those of Mexican descent are the second largest consumers of black beans. The small share for those of Mexican descent may indicate that most Mexican-Americans may come from the more northern regions of Mexico, where pintos are popular rather than the southern areas where black beans are popular.
Black beans appear to be overwhelmingly popular in the South. More than half of domestic consumption takes place in this region, with per capita consumption estimated at 0.9 pounds in 2002. Cajun and Caribbean rice dishes, soups, and other local favorites likely help boost consumption in the south. Black beans are also fairly well accepted in the Northeast, but per capita consumption in 2002 - at 0.5 pounds - was well below that of the South.
On a percentage of market basis, black beans have the strongest following of all major classes in metropolitan areas, where 42% of all black beans are consumed. Percentage-wise, black beans are also among the most popular in rural areas, with 30% of black beans consumed in the sparsely populated regions of the country. On the other side of the coin, black beans hold the weakest appeal of all classes in suburban regions where only 29% of black beans are sold.
The food intake survey indicated that people between the ages of 20 and 59 are the leading consumers of black beans, with per capita use reaching nearly 0.8 pounds in 2002. This segment of the population consumes 70% of all black beans. Those 60 and over also enjoy black beans, with 2002 use nearing 0.6 pounds per person. Per capita use of black beans generally increases through adulthood before falling back in the later years of life.
About 20% of black beans are purchased and consumed away from home. The majority of black beans obtained from away-from-home sources are purchased at full-service restaurants. About 16% of black beans are purchased in these standard (non-fast food) restaurants. In a way this reflects the dual nature of black beans as both an upscale, trendy dry bean and as a basic food.
Red Kidney Beans
According to the food intake survey, on any given day, kidney beans are consumed by 4% of Americans. Like pinto beans, per capita use of kidney beans jumped in the 1990s' as the popularity of various ethnic foods increased. However, growth in such food trends as Mexican cuisine seems to have cooled somewhat, and this cooling off has been reflected in the consumption trends for kidneys.
Domestic use during the 2000s has declined 7%, compared with the average use during the 1990s. In 2002, an estimated 138 million pounds of light and dark red kidney beans were consumed in the United States-well below the peak use of 170 million pounds in 1998. Per capita kidney bean use during the 2000s has averaged about a half a pound - 14% below the average use of the 1990s, but still 15-percent above the average of the 1980s.
Similar to black beans, the USDA food intake survey indicated that white Americans consume proportionately more kidney beans than any other race or ethnic group. However, Hispanics account for about a fifth of the kidney bean market with Hispanics other than those of Mexican descent being the second largest consumers of kidney beans.
The last few years have witnessed some interesting shifts within the kidney bean market between light and dark reds. As the dark-red export market during the 2000s has been sliced in half from levels experienced in the 1990s, dark-red domestic disappearance has been on the rise. Dark red kidney bean consumption in the 2000s has averaged 62 million pounds - up 48% from the 1990s average.
At the same time, light red-kidney bean exports have more than doubled during the 2000s from their low 1990s average, and domestic light red consumption has dropped 28% to 79 million pounds. In the 1990s, light reds accounted for 72% of domestic kidney bean consumption. Thus far in the 2000s, light reds are down to 56% of total kidney bean consumption, with dark red kidneys moving up from 28% in the 90s, to a 44% market share in the 2000s. Interestingly, in 2002, per capita use of light red and dark red kidney beans were even for the first time at 0.24 pounds each.
On a per capita use basis, kidney beans are most favored in the Midwest, with consumption estimated at nearly 0.6 pounds. The West was close behind at a little more than 0.5 pounds. Per capita use in the South lagged all other regions at 0.4 pounds. Kidney beans were found to be very popular in suburban America, with slightly more than half of all use occurring in these areas.
The food intake survey indicated that people between the ages of 20 and 59 are the leading consumers of red kidney beans, with per capita use reaching nearly 0.6 pounds in 2002. This segment of the population consumes two-thirds of all kidney beans. Teens and those over 59 also enjoy kidney beans, with 2002 use nearing 0.5 pounds per person for both. Per capita use of kidney beans is much like that we see with black beans in that use generally increases through adulthood before falling back in the later years of life.
Like black beans, about 80% of kidney beans are purchased at retail and consumed at home. The majority of kidney beans obtained away from home were consumed at full-service restaurants, with just 5% purchased at fast food places.
Domestic utilization of all garbanzo beans (mostly the large kabuli chickpeas) has averaged 89 million pounds thus far in the 2000s-nearly double the averages of the 1990s. This works out to about 0.31 pounds per person during the early 2000s-up from 0.18 during the 1990s. Increased interest in ethnic foods, such as hummus and in Mediterranean cooking in general, have likely helped boost garbanzo demand over the past decade.
The food intake survey indicated that garbanzo beans are most heavily used in the West, with per capita consumption in 2002 estimated to be 0.6 pounds. Garbanzos are also popular in the East, but do not appear to be well received in the South, where per capita use is less than a tenth of a pound. Nearly two-thirds of garbanzo beans are consumed in suburban areas, with few takers in rural regions. Consumers of Asian descent have, by far, the highest per capita use at 2.2 pounds.
Along with black beans, the garbanzo bean has been termed one of the upscale members of the dry bean community. Unlike most other bean classes, garbanzos are more popular with women, than men. In 2002, per capita consumption of garbanzo beans by women was about one-third greater than for men. On a per capita basis, both adults and teenagers favor garbanzo beans, although adults between the ages of 20 and 59 account for nearly three-fourths of all garbanzo bean consumption.
In 2002, domestic disappearance of blackeye beans was estimated at 54 million pounds-the lowest level in more than a decade. Production had remained below long-term averages since the 1999 record-high crop brought low prices. With prices improving over the past year, a return to average output levels is expected this year, with demand also expected to show small improvement by the end of the year. Domestic use during the 2000s has declined by nearly one-fifth, compared with average use during the 1990s. In 2002, per capita blackeye bean use was 16-percent below a year earlier and 28-percent below the average consumption of the 1990s.
As the chart shows, blackeye beans are most popular on a per capita basis in the South, where blackeyes are a traditional food. Blackeyes also appear to have a strong following in the Northeast. Estimated per capita consumption hovered around 0.3 pounds for each of these 2 regions in 2002. Blackeye beans appear to have a sparse following in the Midwest, with per capita use just under a tenth of a pound in 2002. Interestingly, the survey indicated that blackeyes are least popular in one of their production strongholds, the West.
The explanation for these results may lie in the race/ethnic data, which indicate that African American consumers account for nearly two-thirds of the market for blackeye beans. According to Census population data, African Americans are best represented in the populations of the South and Northeast. Per capita use of blackeyes among black consumers was nearly one pound in 2002, followed distantly by white consumers at one-tenth of a pound.
In a percent age of market basis, blackeye beans have the strongest following of all dry bean classes in rural areas, where 44% of all blackeye beans were reported to be consumed.
As with most bean classes, men are the most important consumers of blackeyes, with per capita use estimated at 0.23 pounds in 2002-53% greater than the blackeye consumption of women. Like navy beans, blackeye consumption appears to increase with age. People over the age of 60 show the greatest consumption, with an estimated 0.30 pounds per person in 2002. People between 20 and 59 were the next largest consumers at 0.23 pounds per person, followed by teenagers at 0.17 pounds per capita. Consumption also tends to be heaviest among the lower income groups, with about two-thirds of the blackeye market spread among those whose income was categorized as being 185% of the poverty level or less.
What can we conclude from this discussion of dry bean consumption? Several points stand out:
Over the past several years, per capita use of dry beans has stopped growing. In the 2000s, dry bean use is averaging 7.33 pounds per person, down slightly from the 1990s, but well above average of the 1980s.
Although there are significant regional variations in dry bean use by class, overall dry bean consumption is highest in the western and southern regions of the country where three fourths of all dry beans are consumed.
Dry bean consumption varies by age and gender. The greatest consumers of dry beans are adults between the ages of 20 and 59, with a consumption of nearly 9 pounds per capita. The good news is that a new generation of dry bean consumers is on the way, with teenage bean consumption close behind the adults at 7.9 pounds per person.
A little more than three-fourths of all dry beans are purchased from retail stores and consumed at home. Lima beans and blackeye beans have the largest share of at home use, while pintos and garbanzo beans have the greatest acceptance in the foodservice arena;
U.S. dry bean consumers of Hispanic descent continue to rise in share of the population and account for one-third of the U.S. dry bean market. U.S. consumers of Mexican descent top the list with per capita dry bean consumption at an estimated 31.4 pounds in 2002.
Overall, the greater the income, the lower the per capita consumption of dry beans. This is especially true of pintos and limas. However, we know that garbanzo, black, and kidney beans do not fit this particular income-use pattern.
Popular bean products emphasize taste, versatility and value.