A unique partnership between Tesco and processor AB Mauri could mean the appearance of more fava beans in stores, and that is good news for customers who are looking for another healthy protein source in their foods.
With its farmers and suppliers, Tesco has put together a trial to use fava beans “across a host of different products and ingredients”. The retailer is aiming to get farmers to add fava into their crop rotations so they can triple output. In turn, those beans could be placed into takeaway meals with the help of Samworth Brothers.
“We’re always looking for innovative ways to make the products we sell more sustainable, so we’re really excited about the potential for fava beans to be used across our product ranges,” Emily Rout, Sustainable Food and Innovation Manager at Tesco said. “As we look to overcome challenges like food security, climate change, and biodiversity loss, foods like fava beans could also help us establish a circular food system, as they can also be used in different crop rotations and be fed to animals. It really could be a miracle crop in terms of improving sustainability across our food system”
Nearly 740,000 tonnes of fava are already produced by UK farmers annually – from Cornwall all the way up to Cumbria and Fife. But with the added investment and more farms jumping on board, Tesco believes that number could grow to three million.
But why the sudden interest in fava beans? Because fava beans can grow without chemical-based fertilisers, which are expensive. And they also don’t harm the soil, meaning crops can grow continuously.
Perhaps the coolest thing about fava is its potential application in so many different food items. Aside from humous and falafel, fava can be infused into desserts. By using expertise from its own chefs, Samworth Brothers and AB Mauri, Tesco is working to see how it can incorporate fava into other recipes as a protein alternative.
“There is a huge opportunity to add fava beans to a number of products and ingredients – as a plant-based alternative to animal protein, but also in other areas such as bakery or ‘Food To Go’ options,” Andrew Dinsdale, UK Head of Sales at AB Mauri. “Given fava beans enjoy ideal growing conditions here in the UK, the potential for it to form a key part of our diets in the future is really exciting. We’re really pleased to be partnering with Tesco and its suppliers to explore these options and hope to unveil some delicious new products very soon.”