BeanCon24 was pulsating with passion, purpose, and, of course, plenty of beans! 


Hosted annually since 2021 by the US DryBeans Council, the event has evolved into a significant platform to advocate for the increased consumption of beans worldwide, drawing over 300 attendees this year passionate about exploring the boundless potential of the extraordinary bean.

CANCUN, Mexico, 1-3 February

BeanCon24 exemplified the collective dedication to promoting bean consumption as a solution to global challenges. While significant strides have been made through various ongoing efforts, the journey ahead requires continued collaboration and innovation.

Many members of the Beans is How network joined the conference. A key thread discussed was Beans is Hows’ ability to bridge diverse stakeholder groups, thus uplifting and focusing efforts in the coming year and beyond.

During her keynote address, Eve Turow-Paul of Food For Climate League shed light on the underlying motivations driving today’s food trends, emphasising the importance of understanding consumer behaviours. 

Among the key takeaways from a panel called: The Challenge Ahead: Change Makers And The Pathways They Create To Increased Consumption,Cathy Powers, Chair of The Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Kids Collaborative, and a partner with Culinary Nutrition Associates LLC emphasised the importance of understanding consumer preferences, particularly in the school nutrition space:

“While the student is the end consumer, the school nutrition staff (menu planner, cook, manager) can be a barrier to increased consumption”. She further added that there is a need to have increased awareness and inspiration when supporting healthy school meals. 

Javier Berterreche, Business Development Manager at Bridge2Food highlighted the market dynamics influencing bean consumption:

“Sensory (flavour and texture) is the number one reason of choice, closely followed by price. Offering delicious and affordable food will rule the next years’ demand. Beans have clear advantages in terms of sustainability and consumer awareness.”

Alyson Greenhalgh Ball of Conscious Impact reminded attendees about the pivotal role food systems play at the nexus of climate, nature, health, and equity. Highlighting beans as catalysts for systemic change, she emphasised the need for collaborative efforts across sectors to build resilient food systems and combat hunger globally. 

Paul Newnham, Chief Bean Officer stressed the importance of making beans visible, desirable, and necessary through sustained collaboration with various stakeholders, including retail, restaurants, and public institutions. He also encouraged more organizations to get involved in Beans is How, whether by joining the Coalition or spreading bean inspiration by getting more #beansonthemenu and creating an enabling environment for increased consumption.

Other panels included a discussion of beans from the growers perspective led by American Pulse Association and bean innovators who shared various bean-based snacks. BeanCon 24 closed with a conversation between Paul Newnham and Chef Alice Zavlavsky, a multiple cookbook author and TV and radio personality and chef on how to drive a connection to food. 

During the Beans is How Stakeholder Gathering, members of the Bean Coalition contributed their expertise and insights, including Rebecca Bratter (US Dry Beans Council), Jean Claude Rubyogo, (PABRA) Amelia Christie-Miller (Bold Bean Co.), Chelsea Didinger (A legume a Day), Steve Savell & Robert Loggins (Bush Brothers & Co.) Tim McGreevy (American Pulse Association). Their collective efforts underscored the importance of collaboration in advancing the beans-based agenda.

Individuals and organisations are invited to break down silos and join our mission to create demand for beans and an enabling environment, helping us to tailor our global approach to local scenarios.

Together, we can ensure that beans not only grace our plates but also pave the way for a healthier, more sustainable future.

See who’s putting #beansonthemenu