The U.S. is a global leader in high quality dry bean production. Each year, U.S. farmers plant from 1.5 to 1.7 million acres of edible dry beans.
And while Americans are the chief consumers of these beans, 20% are shipped to international markets in more than 100 different countries around the globe. For centuries, dried beans and other pulses have served as primary protein sources for many cultures. Lately, however, some developing countries are turning away from the consumption of beans and substituting alternative foods that are often less nutritious.
At the same time, health-conscious consumers in wealthier countries are adding more dry beans to their diets. Growing interest in ethnic cuisines that include beans and increasing knowledge about the benefits of eating more plant-based foods are contributing to renewed research in, and increased consumption of, beans.