USSEC hosted the 1st Pan-Asia Soy Food Summit and Trade Show, a three-day virtual conference from June 9 to 11. The virtual conference featured 28 presentations by thought-leaders, subject matter experts, regional and local industry representatives, and stakeholders on a wide range of topics covering food and agriculture with an emphasis on soy-based food and beverages.
Guest of honor Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue gave a welcome message at the event. This was followed by an opening introduction and a presentation on the U.S. Soy Advantage by USSEC CEO Jim Sutter. Representing the U.S. Soy family were Scott Metzger, American Soybean Association (ASA) director, who spoke on “FY2020-21 Soybean Crop Outlook” and April Hemmes, United Soybean Board (USB) director, presented on “U.S. Soy Commitment to Sustainable Production.”
In addition to the presentations and live question and answer panel sessions, the event also incorporated a virtual trade show that featured 75 virtual booth sponsors, represented by 43 soy food producers, end-users, and importers across Asia and 32 U.S. soy exporters and industry members, as well as U.S. soybean grower organizations.
Almost 900 participants from 26 countries including the U.S., Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, San Marino, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Vietnam participated in the conference.
Based on the event survey conducted at the end of the conference, more than 90% agreed or strongly agreed that the event content was relevant, included valuable new information and was a good use of their time. About 89% learned useful new information about U.S. Soy for their business while 82% learned why purchasing/ using U.S. Soy is profitable for their business. Nearly half of participants also reported making useful business contacts at the virtual conference/trade show.
Southeast Asia recorded more than one-third of total attendees with 320 participants representing 168 organizations participating in the event. According to post-event feedback received, the majority of participants rated the contents and speakers highly. A soymilk producer in Indonesia appreciated the presentations which discussed the latest development in soy-based food products and changes in consumer’s preferences and felt that the information will serve as important considerations for future product and market development.
Many participants were also impressed with the platform which simulated a live conference and trade show environment. For the 19 organizations from Southeast Asia that had their virtual booths featured in the trade show, many were setting up a virtual booth for the first time and found it a good learning experience.
A Vietnam attendee commented that the virtual booths made it possible for everyone to access information and contacts that were relevant to them and found it convenient to have the information available for download. The attendee was able to interact with U.S. soy suppliers and shipping service providers to discuss business as well as establish new contacts with some U.S. suppliers.
According to Yeong Boon Yee, USSEC Southeast Asia’s Senior Technical Consultant for Human Protein, out of the top 20 global soybean importers in 2018/19, five of them were from Southeast Asia - Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The region imports about 9.1 million metric tons (MMT) soybeans of which more than 3 MMT is used for food. She expects Asia and Southeast Asia to continue its dominance in shaping the future of global soy food market.