San Francisco, California—After 20 years on the fringe, soyfoods have taken their place alongside traditional foods as manufacturers answer consumer needs for healthy, tasty and convenient products. Sales are expected to reach 25 per cent in 2001, according to "Soyfoods: US Market 2001," a report produced by Soyatec, SPINS and Arthur D. Little. Since 1995 alone, dollar value has risen 250 per cent, hitting double-digit increases in each year. 2000 was a landmark year for soyfoods, which grew by 21.1 percent to reach $2.77 billion.
"It is clear that soy is the protein of choice in the US among adults looking for health benefits," says Julie Tockman, director of public affairs at Protein Technologies, St. Louis, Missouri. In 1999, the company petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support the health claim that 25g/day soy may contribute to heart health. The approved claim paved the way for emerging health benefits of soy, including bone health, reduced menopausal symptoms and cancer prevention.
"The health claim opened a window for consumers to become comfortable with soy as a food ingredient and for the food industry to deliver it in tasty and convenient forms," says Tockman.
The recent study showed that meal replacement beverages and powders, energy bars, soymilk beverages, meat alternatives and tofu were the top five categories that accounted for 86.5 per cent of total soyfood sales. An emerging trend can be seen in supermarkets and mass market outlets, where sales of soyfoods grew by more than 30 per cent in 2000 as more shoppers purchased soy alongside their traditional counterparts.