Pulses present many advantages for human health, nutrition, sustainability, and the environment. Despite efforts in recent years by the pulse industry and national authorities to favor pulses, consumption in France remains relatively low, at 1.7 kg/per person in 2016, compared to 1920 when it was around 7.2 kg/per person. To understand social representations of pulses in France, 80 French nonvegetarian consumers and 35 professionals from the pulse industry were asked to say five words spontaneously evoked by the inductor “pulses”. They then had to rank these five words in order of importance and rate their valence. The structural approach was used to analyze social representations for each group independently. Our results highlight differences in the structure and content of social representations for pulses. Consumer responses suggested only vague impressions of pulses, but taste evocations were nevertheless rated positively. By contrast, professionals tended to focus specifically on protein content and culinary preparation. These differences could explain some barriers to pulse consumption, and improved communication should be a key target. Efficient communication must consider the concepts most frequently used by consumers when referring to pulses, and those ranked as most important.
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