While health benefits of legume consumption are well documented, intake is well below recommendations in many Western cultures, and little is known regarding culinary use and consumer understanding of these foods. This study aimed to investigate consumption, knowledge, attitudes, and culinary use of legumes in a convenience sample of Australians. An online computer-based survey was used to gather data and demographic characteristics. Respondents (505 individuals answered in full or in part) were regular consumers of legumes (177/376 consumed legumes 2-4 times weekly). Chickpeas, green peas, and kidney beans were most often consumed, and were made into most commonly Mexican, then Indian and Middle Eastern meals. Consumers correctly identified protein and dietary fibre (37%) as key nutritional attributes. For non-consumers (7%; 34/463), taste, a lack of knowledge of how to prepare and include legumes, and the time taken to prepare, along with family preferences, hindered consumption. Participants identified the food category as "beans" rather than "legumes", and this may have implications for dietary guidance at an individual and policy level. Addressing barriers to consumption, perhaps through food innovation, emphasizing positive health attributes, and clarification within dietary guidelines, are important considerations for increasing consumption of legumes.
Keywords: bean; consumption; culinary use; dietary fibre; dietary guidelines; food classification; legume; protein; vegan; vegetarian.