Warburtons launches major pulse research initiative with Cigi to produce healthier baked products


Cigi and Warburtons

Warburtons, the United Kingdom’s largest bakery brand, is joining forces with the Canadian International Grains Institute on a unique multi-year pulse research project to produce healthier baked products and ultimately increase the use of pulse flours by the food industry.

JoAnne Buth, CEO, Cigi, and Brett Warburton, Executive Director, Warburtons, with the newly installed pilot-scale fermentation tank at Cigi, to be used in work with pulse flours for the production of healthier baked goods.

JoAnne Buth, CEO, Cigi, and Brett Warburton, Executive Director, Warburtons, with the newly installed pilot-scale fermentation tank at Cigi, to be used in work with pulse flours for the production of healthier baked goods.

The research builds on the technical expertise Cigi has developed over the past decade in collaboration with pulse growers and industry about the functionality and application of pulse flours, and reflects growing consumer demand for new and innovative bakery products.

Saskatchewan Pulse Growers has provided $1.8 million in funding for the project. Warburtons is contributing $680,000 of in-kind support as well as funds for the purchase of a pilot-scale fermentation tank at Cigi, and the governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $270,000 through the Grain Innovation Hub.  Western Grains Research Foundation and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers have also provided funding of $158,000 and $25,000, respectively.

Objectives for the three-year project include:

  • Developing a pulse database summarizing new and existing information on the compositional, functional and flavour properties of pulses of greatest interest to the food industry, as well as investigating the effects of pre- and post-milling treatments, particle size and storage
  • Investigating the use of pre-ferment processing on the functionality and end-product quality of doughs containing pulse flours
  • Exploring the development of pulse-based bakery products that meet specific health and nutrition targets

The database and research findings will be shared with pulse breeders, seed companies, growers, pulse processors and the food industry.

“By working with Warburtons as a commercial partner on this project, there is a direct link to an end-customer,” says JoAnne Buth, Cigi CEO. “It signifies the potential of pulses to the food industry as ingredients with nutritional benefits that can contribute to improved health and well-being of consumers.”

Warburtons has previously undertaken preliminary research at Cigi using pulse flours and the company believes the use of pulses can lead to products higher in protein and fibre, and lower in gluten and carbohydrates.

Warburtons is proud to be partnering with Cigi on this exciting project to advance the use of pulses in the food industry,” says Adam Dyck, Warburtons Canadian Program Manager. “This new research underlines the increasing popularity of new and innovative bakery products amongst consumers and is testament to Warburtons’ commitment to future growth through diversification and innovation.”

As the primary funder of the research, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers sees the project as an important opportunity to increase the demand for pulse flours, leading to additional markets for pulse ingredients and greater economic returns for growers.

“We are pleased to fund this project,” says Carl Potts, Executive Director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. “Inclusion of pulse ingredients into baked foods helps address consumer interest in choosing nutritional ingredients in the foods they eat. This project also addresses market diversification which is an important focus for SPG, and Saskatchewan pulse growers are well-suited to meet the demand for improved nutrition in the food industry.”

Cigi is an independent not-for-profit market development institute created in 1972. More than 44,000 people representing grain, oilseed, pulse and special crops industries from 115 countries have participated in Cigi programs and seminars. Cigi’s mission is to increase utilization of Canadian grain and field crops through superior knowledge, technical expertise, industry leadership and collaboration, innovative processing solutions and targeted training to customers around the world. Cigi is funded by farmers, the Government of Canada (AAFC) and industry partners.

Warburtons is the UK’s leading independent baker and was established in a grocery shop in Bolton in 1876 by Thomas and Ellen Warburton. Today the business is run by the fifth generation of the Warburton family – Brett, Jonathan and Ross.  Warburtons operates 12 bakeries and 14 depots across the country with the support of 4,500 people, producing more than two million products every day. It is the largest baker in the UK and was recently named the UK’s most-chosen fast-moving consumer goods brand by Kantar World Panel.

Accountable to and funded by growers, SPG’s strategic direction is guided by a seven member, grower-elected, Board of Directors.  SPG’s mission is to provide leadership for profitable growth for the Saskatchewan pulse industry.


For more information contact:

JoAnne Buth, Chief Executive Officer
Canadian International Grains Institute
Ph: (204) 983-4980

Adam Dyck, Canadian Program Manager
Warburtons (Canada)
Ph: (204) 864-2453



Growing the Market for Pulse Flours: Creating Innovative Bakery Products and a Pulse Database for the Food Industry

The three-year project (to March 31, 2019) comprises three objectives:

Development of a Pulse Database

The database will include a summary of new and existing information on pulses of greatest interest to the food industry (yellow peas, red and green lentils, chickpeas and navy beans), including information on the effects of genotype and environment, milling and pre- and post-milling processing, particle size and storage on compositional, functional and flavour properties. Research and studies associated with the development of the database will involve the collaboration of a number of organizations including Cigi, Warburtons, University of Saskatchewan, Crop Development Centre, Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers, University of Manitoba, AAFC (Morden), Campden BRI (United Kingdom), Best Cooking Pulses and InfraReady Products. The pulse database will be available for use across the food industry and housed on the SPG web site.

Explore Use of Pre-Ferment Technology with Pulse Flours

Using a pilot-scale fermentation tank newly installed at Cigi, a series of pre-ferment trials using flours milled from varying pulse types, pulse blends, particle sizes and inclusion levels will be undertaken to determine their effects on ferment dough properties, finished bread quality and FODMAP levels (FODMAPs are a group of small carbohydrate (sugar) molecules found in everyday foods that may be poorly absorbed in the small intestine of some people). Trials will also be conducted to determine if bread with a clean label (elimination of dough conditioners and other processing aids) can be produced using pre-ferment technology and pulse flour.

Development of Pulse-Based Bakery Products That Meet Specific Health and Nutrition Targets

Selected doughs from the pre-ferment trials will be used in baking trials at Cigi to determine if commercial pulse flours and isolates can be used to formulate products that meet specific health and nutrition targets (high protein, high fibre, lower gluten and gluten-free, lower carbohydrates, better carbohydrates, resistant starch, lower calories and reduced FODMAPS). Bakery products may include bread, rolls, sandwich thins, tortillas and crumpets.  Other tests will evaluate the effect of various pulse flour blends on flour and bread quality and the impact of baking temperature on the flavour of bread containing pulse flours and blends.