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Research on beans

The project started in 2011 with the common or haricot bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), a popular source of plant-based protein and dietary fibre for humans the world over. It's an iconic ingredient in the UK diet. The project has been built from MAFF funded research in the 1970-80s at the National Vegetable Research Station, Wellesbourne (now a campus of the University of Warwick). Scientists from Warwick University resurrected stored seed and have been working to develop new varieties of haricot beans in a spectrum of colours that can thrive in our climate and be a commercially viable crop. 'Capulet' and 'Godiva' are the first newly registered varieties of bean from this research and are currently being trialled with a commercial seed company on farms here in the UK. The hope is that these humble beans will provide a new homegrown ingredient to help us shape the future of healthier eating in a Greener Britain. As a legume, it can help farmers put vital nitrogen back into the soil by a beneficial association with Rhizobium bacteria. As a food ingredient, it's nutritious (excellent source of prebiotic dietary fibre, protein and iron) and versatile in a wide menu of delicious recipes. Read more about our work here.

In 2023, new varieties of common dry beans including Godiva (blonde kidney), Capulet (white navy) and Olivia (black cannellini) are being grown to produce the key ingredient for ‘BeanMeals’ (a project supported by the BBSRC Transforming UK Food Systems programme that will work with cooks in Leicestershire schools and Coventry communities). Two areas of production include an area drilled with an Ojyord Wintersteiger field drill into a bed formed seedbed for breeders seed increase and a second area is a no till trial using a 6 metre Weaving Sabre tine drill.

Links to BeanMeals:

Boosting UK-grown beans could be the key to a healthier economy | News | Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Analysis of UK demand and value chain for plant-based foods, including beans (

The project is led by Prof Eric Holub.