BeanCon21 was a global, virtual forum focused on dry bean innovations, trends, and the future of food. Produced partially using federal export program dollars with USDA, the event included master chefs from around the world, several high-profile speakers, and loyal global customers who shared their perspective on the value proposition of U.S. dry beans.
BeanCon21 attracted over 400 global attendees from 40 countries and included over 300 one-to-one business meetings. (Think of speed dating for business!) There were over 3,000 additional connections among participants via the virtual platform.
Sales success data is not yet available. There is certain to be a number of new and expanded buying relationships that have been fostered as a result of the event.
The United States is the global leader in dry bean production. Each year, U.S. farmers plant from 1.5 to 1.7 million acres of edible dry beans. World War II increased the demand for beans, as they became a staple in the C-rations used by U.S. servicemen around the world. After the war, as U.S. food relief efforts around the world intensified, so did dry bean production.
Dry beans are climate-smart: they have broad genetic diversity from which climate-resilient varieties can be selected. Beans are also highly water efficient and require less water compared to many other protein sources. They are nitrogen fixers, meaning they return nutrients to the soil so they need less fertilizer – both organic and synthetic – and in this way, play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.