Wholesale Legumes and Pulses: Types, Uses, and Their Role

December 22, 2023
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Pulses and legumes are one of the most important food groups known to men. They are the main source of plant-based protein and play a significant role in the food and beverage industry. Wholesale legumes are often traded by broadline distributors. Some imported types of grains and legumes are traded by specialty distributors. In this article, we’ll shed some light on the topic of legumes, their applications, and the role they play in food preparation.

Wholesale Chickpeas

Different Types of Chickpeas

Although there are many types of chickpeas known to mankind, businesses that purchase wholesale legumes use two major varieties - kabuli and desi chickpeas.

  • Desi chickpeas. They are primarily used in India and other Asian countries. Desi chickpeas are the most consumed type in the world but they are not very popular in the US. They are much darker in color and have a more angular shape.
  • Kabuli chickpeas. Those are the chickpeas that you’ll often see in jars or cans on the counters of supermarkets. Kabuli chickpeas are used as an ingredient in various dishes. They are round and have a light brown color.
  • Other chickpeas. Italian, Spanish, and Mexican are also known chickpea varieties. However, they are not as commonly used as desi and kabuli types. 

Applications of Chickpeas

A lot of businesses purchase this legume in bulk. It has many different applications and is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries. Let’s shed some light on the main uses of chickpeas as well as the businesses that purchase them wholesale.

  1. Food manufacturing. Chickpeas are most common in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. However, countries like India and China also consume large quantities of chickpeas every year. Various food manufacturers might purchase wholesale legumes, including chickpeas. Hummus producers and ready-to-eat salad manufacturers are just two examples.
  2. Animal feed manufacturers. As chickpeas are very rich in proteins, they play an important role as food for livestock. Generally speaking, manufacturers of animal feed purchase low-quality wholesale legumes as they mix them with wholesale grains. Feed mills have the opportunity to find suppliers that can take care of the shipping and handling or partner directly with farms.
  3. Restaurants and other food service businesses. Wholesale chickpeas are used in stews, salads, and other dishes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they are purchased by restaurants and catering businesses
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Wholesale Peas

Peas are among the most popular pulses in the restaurant industry. Both restaurants and manufacturers purchase these wholesale legumes.

Common Types of Peas

  1. Green pea. It’s the most common variation. You can purchase canned, frozen, or freeze-dried peas.
  2. Snap and snow peas. They are sold unripened. These varieties are popular in East Asian cuisine. 
  3. Yellow peas. They are often sold split. That improves their absorption properties and makes them excellent for stews.
  4. Other varieties. There are multiple other types of peas available on the market. Different cultures have developed recipes with diverse variations of peas. Some of them include pigeon peas, field peas, and wasabi peas.

Pros and Cons of Purchasing Wholesale Legumes and Peas

The main purpose of purchasing in bulk is to reduce the cost of goods sold by benefiting from lower wholesale prices. That’s why businesses that use a lot of pulses in their day-to-day operations will order them from wholesale distributors. Furthermore, these suppliers usually sell a wide range of products. Ergo, it’s convenient for companies to rely on wholesalers instead of purchasing products directly from farms. In addition, suppliers also use various technologies like BlueCart’s platform for wholesalers that can ease the ordering process.

The main drawback of purchasing wholesale legumes is that distributors often have minimum order requirements. This can lead to problems with storage and capacity. Speaking of which, storing legumes should also be done in a cool and dry place. Frozen products like wholesale frozen peas or beans need to be kept refrigerated in order to preserve them in their frozen state.

Wholesale Beans

Various types of beans are among the most used pulses in restaurants. Their popularity has increased in recent years. The reason for that is they became an integral part of the menus of sustainable and eco-friendly restaurants.

The texture of beans is very absorbent. This makes them an excellent ingredient for stews. Furthermore, they are very rich in proteins. Thus, they play an important role in manufacturing meat alternatives.

Main Types of Beans

Different cultures and cuisines use different types of beans. Let’s dive a little deeper into the main categories.

  1. Black beans. Various Mexican and Latin American dishes use them as an ingredient. They can be added to salads, soups, and other dishes.
  2. Black-eyed beans. Their earthy flavor complements savory and salty dishes really well. They are often referred to as black-eyed peas.
  3. Different white beans. Cannellini and navy beans are the most common white varieties. 
  4. Kidney beans. With their distinguished red color, they can add not only texture but aesthetics to different stews such as chili. Kidney beans can also be made into a dip.
  5. Cranberry beans. Also referred to as borlotti beans, their main color is white but they also have red speckles. Creamy dips, pies, stews, and soups are just some of the dishes that can be done with cranberry beans.
  6. Mung beans. They are similar to green peas but they differ both in flavor and texture. Although they are primarily used in Chinese and Asian cuisine, mung beans have become increasingly popular in the US as well. They are rich in antioxidants and fiber. Mung bean sprouts are also a popular ingredient.
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Wholesale Soybeans

Soy products are very popular in the US. Soybeans are used as an ingredient in one of the most popular plant-based milk varieties. Let’s see the main applications of soybeans.

  1. Food manufacturing. Soybeans are extensively used as a meat substitute. They are also rich in protein and extensively used in packaged meals. There are multiple food products made from soybeans. Edamame is a popular soy product as well. It’s made of the unripened green pods of soybeans and can be cooked or used in salads.
  2. Animal feed manufacturing. Soybeans combine low prices with high protein content. That’s why they are among the main raw ingredients used in feed mills. They are also used for the manufacturing of pet food.
  3. Oils and sauces. Soy oil has a distinct flavor and adds richness to dishes. Other than that, soy sauce is one of the most popular seasoning products around the world.
  4. Other industries. One bushel of soybeans can yield 1.5 gallons of biodiesel. That’s why the popularity of biodiesel made of soybeans increases as the fight against climate change becomes increasingly important. Other than that, soybeans are used in industries like bioplastic manufacturing or production of coatings. Fabrics, personal care products, and printing ink can also be made from this plant.

The Soybean Market

This plant plays a crucial role in the US economy. It’s one of the most produced crops across the country. The main reason for that is that it has multiple applications. The agriculture industry is investing heavily in research related to corn and soybeans. They hope to discover even more ways these crops can be used in order to increase their sales of wholesale legumes.

Other than the US, soybeans are popular in East Asian countries like China and Japan. They are used mainly in cooking. Asian countries also benefit from the various applications of soy. Brazil is the leading producer of soybeans in the world. The US, Argentina, China, and India are the other countries that have a substantial harvest of soybeans every year.

Lentils Wholesale

The lentil is one of the most important crops in many countries. It’s the primary source of plant-based protein and nutrition in various Asian countries. It has been known to mankind for thousands of years and there are various types of lentils on the market.

Types of Lentils

  1. Brown. Most people associate lentils with the brown color. Their earthy flavor makes them suitable for savory dishes like soups and stews. A variety of vegetarian dishes and warm salads are also made with brown lentils. 
  2. Green. They are similar to brown lentils but they have a fresher flavor.
  3. Red and yellow lentils. They are smaller in size and are sometimes sold split. These split lentils absorb seasoning and taste better. They are also used to thicken soups and stews.
  4. Other lentil varieties. As lentils are among the most popular crops, suppliers of wholesale legumes offer a wide range of other less-known types. Good examples of such are the black beluga lentils.

The Lentil’s Role on the Market

This legume is arguably the most important one in the world, it plays a significant role in many societies and the economy. According to researchers, the production of lentils has surpassed 14 million tons in 2022. The countries that have the highest lentil yields are Canada and India. The majority of the production in Canada is exported to countries in the South Asian region. 

Lentils’ role in the economy has increased as more people go vegan or strive to reduce their consumption of meat. Manufacturers of meat alternatives purchase wholesale legumes and use them to create plant-based meat substitutes. Retail sales are the main driving force of the lentil market. That’s because lentil pulses are part of the pantries of many households not only in the US but also all across the world.

Lupins Wholesale

Lupin beans are among the least popular legumes on the market. Although they’ve been known for millennia, their popularity has decreased as other legumes like lentils, peas, and beans have become more common. Lupin beans are also called lupins, lupine, and lupini. They are one of the healthiest legume options available. Furthermore, they play a role in the wholesale flower market as well. That’s because the lupine plant comes in various colors and is used for bouquets. 

Applications of Lupin Beans

This pulse crop has many uses. Allow us to shed some light on some of them.

  1. Food manufacturing. Like most other pulses, lupin beans play a role in the manufacturing of various food products. They are often sold pickled in jars as preparing raw lupini can be a long process. Furthermore, as they are very rich in proteins and other nutrients, some manufacturers of pasta or snack food purchase them in bulk.
  2. Agricultural sector. Farms often purchase wholesale legume seeds as these crops improve the soil quality. Their nitrogen-fixing properties have been known to farmers for centuries. In addition, lupine plants can be used as green manure or forage for livestock.
  3. Flower industry. The plant is popular in the bloom sector. There are more than 200 species with different colors and sizes in the Lupinus genus. 

Wholesale Carob

The pods of carob trees are used for manufacturing flour, sweet syrup, and other products. This plant has its roots in the Mediterranean region. The natural sweetness of carob makes it a popular alternative to cocoa powder. As an increasing number of people search for healthier alternatives to chocolate, sweet products made with carob powder have become very common on the market.

Although carob powder is different compared to cocoa powder, It’s often considered to have a chocolate-resembling taste. The main difference between the two ingredients is that carob powder is naturally sweet while cocoa needs to be sweetened in order to make chocolate. Carob also has a slightly nutty taste but it’s not as bitter as cocoa. 

Carob Uses

  1. Food and beverage manufacturing. Businesses selling chocolate and other sweet goods might offer products with carob powder instead of cocoa. Furthermore, in many Mediterranean countries, carob is used to make liqueur or sweet syrup.
  2. Animal feed. Carob pods are used to feed livestock as well. Although that’s primarily done in areas where there’s an abundance of carob trees. In the West, bakery businesses have also incorporated carob powder into specialized products such as dog cakes and brownies.
  3. Thickening agent. Carob seeds are used to make the thickening agent known as locust bean gum. As it’s an alternative to gluten, this makes it an important ingredient in many foods. 
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Legume in Restaurants

Pulses play a big role in restaurants all over the world. They are used in all kinds of dishes. From fresh salads to earthy stews, pulses can be a very versatile ingredient. Here are the most popular legumes in restaurant menus.

  1. Lentils. The lentil plays a vital role in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Since it combines cheap price with nutritional richness, it’s popular across the globe. Lentils are primarily used in stews and soups.
  2. Beans. Black and kidney beans are arguably the most popular types in the West. However, Cannellini and navy beans are very popular in Europe and other parts of the world.
  3. Peas. Both pea beans and unripe pea pods play a role in the restaurant industry.
  4. Soybeans. In the US, soy is the most produced crop after corn. Therefore it’s no wonder that soybeans find their place not only in dishes but in various other sectors.
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