News: Soy Foods
USSEC discussed the health benefits of soybean oil, as proven in a clinical study, with an important oil refinery in Mexico. The refinery is looking to review their marketing strategy as a result of this study.
In September 2016, USSEC completed a clinical research study in the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition “Salvador Zubirán,” a highly recognized institution in Mexico. A group of PhD scholars with experience in nutrition conducted the study. The objective of the study was to analyze the effects of soybean oil versus other oils on levels of LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein profile, and other health parameters, in patients with hypercholesterolemia. The study was carried out following the scientific protocol recommended for this kind of research. It confirmed the health properties of U.S. soybean oil due to its unique composition of Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 fatty acids and its high content of Vitamin E. The results of the study are being communicated to oil refineries so that they can use this information in their marketing materials for the Americas and other regions.
Main result of the clinical study: Soybean oil consumption decreased the total cholesterol in men by 11.5 percent and by 27.3 percent in women. The consumption of soybean oil also significantly decreased serum glucose by 18.5 percent in women.
The consumption of olive oil decreased LDL cholesterol levels by 13.9 percent in women. The consumption of canola significantly decreased serum triglycerides by 28.9 percent.
USSEC recently attended the Pakistan Edible Oils Conference (PEOC) and visited customers in Pakistan, in addition to holding Asia Subcontinent (ASC) staff planning meetings in India.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter and USSEC Acting ASC Regional Lead and Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition Pam Helmsing traveled to New Delhi and Agra, India and Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan from January 13 – 26. During that time, they met with customers and potential customers of U.S. Soy in Pakistan to hear about their markets and concerns and talk about the value of U.S. Soy; Mr. Sutter spoke at the PEOC event; and they worked with the ASC team to plan for the execution of existing and future programs.
Mr. Sutter addressed approximately 500 attendees at PEOC, speaking about the value and sustainability of U.S. Soy. After the PEOC event, meetings with Pakistani crushers and feed mills took place.
USSEC’s plans in Pakistan include: technical training for the solvent extractor industry; nutritional expertise for the poultry industry; possible assistance with demand building for poultry, including nutritional information and countering junk science that says poultry is harmful; possible U.S. Soy oil promotion assistance to position soy oil as a premium brand; and the possibility of bringing a group to Kansas State University for soybean procurement training through a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cochran grant.
Palm and canola currently dominate the oil market in Pakistan, although soybean imports for crush have increased dramatically. The industry recognizes that oil produced with U.S. Soy is lighter in color and has a lower cost of processing than soy from South America. There continues to be a preference for canola and palm, however, because of higher oil contents and consumer preference. Pakistani crushers are very price sensitive. They admit that they are unable to take U.S. Soy and produce as high a quality of soybean meal as can be imported from the U.S. and are anxious to learn how to improve their processes to do so.
Because purchases of soy by individual companies are rather small, purchases are usually made with multiple consignors. This means competitors are getting the same quality at the same price at the same time, which leads to consensus opinions about the quality and/or issues with product from a given country or supplier. This is true for both soybean meal and whole beans. The industry is moving toward some bulk handling.
The feed industry also recognizes the difference in quality between U.S. soybean meal and meal produced locally from U.S. beans. They note that the quality is improving. The feed industry is sophisticated and recognizes the value of U.S. Soy, both intrinsic and extrinsic advantages, and is looking for ways to calculate what premium they can afford to pay for U.S. origin.
The poultry industry has been growing at a rate of eight to ten percent yearly, but there are some plateau years. Profitability is low, with chicken at about two-thirds the price of lentils. The two major barriers to growth in chicken consumption are poverty and misinformation about the quality of poultry meat. The Pakistan Poultry Association is planning a feeding program at a few public schools, providing eggs and chicken legs to children and will collect data to show improvements in health, school attendance and learning.
USSEC participated in the Pakistan Edible Oil Conference (PEOC) in Karachi, Pakistan on January 21.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter spoke to attendees on the topic “Soybeans: Sustainably Produced and Packed with Protein.”
In addition to talking about the sustainable manner in which U.S. soybeans are produced and explaining how sustainability is a new benchmark, Mr. Sutter also discussed growing protein consumption around the world and how to evaluate protein.
The presentation’s positive message focused on how consumers are demanding sustainably produced products, which U.S. Soy can deliver.
USSEC recently participated in the 57th Japanese Vegetable Oil Industry New Year Event, kicking off 2017. Japan Oilseed Processors Association (JOPA), Japan Rice Bran Oil Industry Association, Japan Margarine Industry Association, Japan Oil & Fat Importers & Exporters Association, Japan Oil & Fat Wholesalers’ Association, and Japan Mayonnaise Manufacturers’ Association jointly organized this event. Nearly 500 particpants, ranging from oil manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, governments, and other relevant industries, attended this large event to pledge further progress of the Japanese vegetable oil industry together.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura, and Masako Tateishi, USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization Coordinator and HU Director – Japan represented the U.S. Soy industry.
During a congratulatory speech made by Takao Imamura, chairman of JOPA, and president and representative director of Nisshin Oillio Group, several important matters were noted as to what the Japanese vegetable oil industry needs to promptly prepare in order to respond to possible changes in external environments in 2017, including the next U.S. president’s plan to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a possible transition to direct discussion, an evaluation plan of mandatory country of origin labeling for all Japanese processed foods, and a plan for mandatory implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) for food safety in Japan. Mr. Imamura also stressed the importance of further growing vegetable oil and sustainability demands throughout the industry because a vital food source is necessary in order for all generations to maintain health and to adjust proper physical function.
During a conversation between JOPA, USSEC, and the Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Tokyo team during the reception, the executive director of JOPA, Akira Saito, said, ”One of JOPA’s goals for 2017 is to restore soybean oil demands so that we are going to further consolidate our U.S. – Japan partnership. Let’s take a group photo to pledge such cooperation!!”
In 2015, Japan imported over 3.24 million metric tons (MT) of soybeans, of which U.S. enjoys a 72 percent market share. USSEC Japan will continue to work with the Japanese vegetable oil and soyfoods industries, both of which are essential ingredients for Japanese foods.
USSEC’s partnership activities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid off this year when Korea’s largest trade organization of food-grade soybean end-users announced they would require the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Protocol (SSAP) certificate. In its March 2016 tender announcement for 7,651 metric tons (MT) of U.S. non-GMO identity preserved soybeans, the Korea Federation of Tofu Cooperatives (KFTC) added the certificates to the list of documents suppliers must provide.
Wisconsin-headquartered DeLong Company, as well as Knewtson Soy Products in Minnesota, both USSEC members, are two of the 45 companies spanning 17 states that are pre-registered to use SSAP certificates.
DeLong’s Brandon Bickham, a USSEC director, says, “We are using the SSAP in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam as a marketing tool from our side and at our customers’ request in some instances.”
“The large customers seem to want everything that is available to them for advertising and food safety image,” says Wayne Knewtson, president of Knewtson Soy Products.
Launched in 2013, the SSAP allows U.S. exporters to efficiently and cost-effectively communicate the sustainability of U.S. Soy to buyers worldwide. In January 2016, soy exports certified through the SSAP hit a record two million metric tons in the 2015/16 marketing year. The SSAP provides U.S. Soy exporters with proof of, among other sustainability-related criteria, reductions in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil erosion of soybeans produced in the United States.
USSEC’s Market Access Program (MAP) – funded efforts include bringing a team of Korean soybean crushing and feed mill buyers to the United States to learn about the superior quality of U.S. soybeans as well as their sustainability. With USDA Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds, USSEC staff also conducts seminars and other trade servicing activities in North Asia and other locations where they highlight the sustainability of U.S. Soy.
USSEC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) are helping U.S. agriculture to be the store where international customers want to shop. U.S. high-value food grade soybean marketers liken international buyers to U.S. customers who go to a store because it offers a preferred or unique product. If the customer learns to love that store, then they will become loyal and shop for even more products.
With USDA and USSEC assistance, companies such as SK Food International and Natural Products Inc., both USSEC members, are doing their part to cultivate this preference for U.S. specialty soybeans. U.S. Soy competitors also pursue the Asia and Pacific region’s soy food market that according to Technavio’s Global Soy Food Market 2016-2020 analysis was valued at $17 billion in 2015. Technavio projects the Asia and Pacific regional market will reach $24 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent. The need for soy protein ingredients to fuel that region’s soy foods sector will grow at an even faster pace — reaching an estimated 10 percent CAGR.
To capture this business, USSEC works with Foreign Market Development (FMD) -supported trade services to constantly monitor the markets and policies.
“USSEC is doing a good job of helping us make the necessary changes to meet the customer,” says Natural Products General Manager Paul Lang. “The way grain moves into Korea is a government-controlled process. If someone wants to do business in Korea, then they have to stay in tune with their government. FAS and USSEC are on the ground. We expect them to know the current situation of the law, the standards and what changes.”
USDA FMD-funded activities allowed SK and other U.S. specialty soybean exporters to meet overseas food manufacturers.
“The biggest benefit from our USSEC relationship is creating new leads and the connection to new buyers,” says SK Marketing Coordinator Tara Froemming.
“It is good to have the USSEC support of these missions,” she concludes.
It’s no secret that China’s domestic soybean production has been declining since 2004/05, due to a change in their corn price support policy. Since then, China’s soybean import volume has been increasing to meet the growing demand from the crushing industry to supply the needs for soybean meal and soy oil. But an exciting new export development is China’s growing need for specialty soybeans for use in making soy foods and beverages.
Unlike in the U.S., essentially all of China’s domestic soybean production are non-GMO beans and nearly all are used to make food and beverages. Last year, China grew approximately 10.51 million metric tons (MMT) of soybeans. They are projected to increase production 11 percent this year. An impressive increase, but it’s not going to be enough. This year, demand for non-GMO soybeans for food use in China could exceed their country’s domestic production by over 20%. Essentially, China is projected to consume specialty soybean tonnage roughly equal to Iowa’s total 2015 soybean production. Enter – an opportunity for U.S. specialty soybean exporters.
Last year, China had a shortage and imported specialty soybeans from Canada and Russia to fill their food ingredient market gap. And that didn’t go unnoticed. In response to U.S. exporter feedback, USSEC funded a 2017 China Food Bean Export Initiative project, which included holding a U.S. Specialty Soybean Market Outlook Conference in Hangzhou, a city in the province of Zhejiang in eastern China on November 21. During the conference, USSEC China presented the 2016 U.S. Soy food bean quality survey report, and updated conference attendees on the current situation of the U.S. and Chinese non-GMO soybean supply and demand, and shared insights on China’s soy food industry future trends.
USSEC exporter members SunOpta and Grain Millers sent their China representatives to attend and speak at the conference, introducing their companies’ specialty soybean portfolios and supply capabilities. Both organizations assured the attendees that U.S. exporters could meet the Chinese customers’ demand by producing suitable varieties of soybeans backed with reliable and consistent quality and timely delivery.
Over the previous several months, USSEC’s staff in China had also made one-on-one industry visits to assess the U.S. specialty soybean food market opportunity in eastern and northern China. Work to expand U.S. soybean sales to China will continue throughout this year by connecting U.S. specialty soybean exporters with the Chinese soy food and beverage industry.
USSEC organized the 1st U.S. Soy Ambassador Award ceremony to present the inaugural U.S. Soy Ambassador Award in Japan. The U.S. Soy Ambassador recognizes a tofu producer who won the national tofu competition using 100 percent U.S. soybeans. The first recipient of this award in Japan was Shigeru Ueda, CEO of Satonoyuki Shokuhin.
Satonoyuki Shokuhin was founded by Mr. Ueda’s father in 1961 and now consists of six separate companies that focus on not only food production and distribution but also machine manufacturing and high-tech packing development.
Mr. Ueda traveled to Tokyo with his wife and met with U.S. Embassy officials, representing U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, to deliver samples of his award winning tofu, Kokutoro. After presenting his tofu and participating in a press conference for the Japan food trade media, Mr. Ueda was honored in an award reception and dinner hosted by USSEC. During the award ceremony, Mr. Ueda expressed his appreciation for the high quality soybeans he receives from the U.S. and how his close relationship with U.S. suppliers and growers assures a consistent supply of premium soybeans that are best suited for his company. Mr. Ueda also stated that USSEC has been leading the world in promoting sustainable soybeans, which he said is a remarkable step towards achieving sustainability in our society and environment. “With the shared vision for a sustainable world, we are ready to make every endeavor to support the expansion of U.S. soybeans,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, participants tasted three tofu dishes made with the rich and creamy winning tofu, Kokutoro. The recipes developed by a restaurant chef include vegan tofu tartare, avocado and tofu moose cocktail, and tofu pudding Hong Kong style.
Japan, the largest consumer of tofu products made with U.S. Soy, used nearly 477,000 metric tons (MT) of non-GMO identity preserved (IP) soybeans in 2015. USSEC Japan will continue to support Japan’s tofu industry in coordinated with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Tokyo and Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) by establishing a U.S. Soy Sustainability Ambassador Award in the 3rd National Tofu Competition, which will be held at the Tofu Summit in Tokyo in December 2017. The award ceremony will be combined with the U.S. Soy Sustainability Ambassador Award winner in the 22nd National Natto Competition.
When don’t you want to be ranked #1 in the world?
Answer: When your country tops the charts for having the highest diabetes rates. And that’s what motivated the Mexican government to take action. They pulled together a team of international nutritionists and scientists who quickly discovered that beverage consumption was the primary reason for the skyrocketing incidence of diabetes in Mexico. Typical teenagers and adults were getting twice the recommended amount of their entire daily energy requirement from soft drinks and other sugary beverages.
With these findings, the Mexican Ministry of Health took the bold and unusual step to introduce the world’s first daily beverage consumption recommendation – which included soymilk. It deployed an expansive, countrywide consumer awareness campaign which also included targeting every school and government office. Their message introduced and educated their citizens on why it was extremely important to their health to change their beverage choices. And that change included drinking up to two glasses of soymilk each day. The Mexican Ministry of Health considers soymilk’s excellent protein, vitamin and mineral content to be comparable to cow’s milk.
Mexico is the first country in the world to officially recommend the daily consumption of soymilk to its people.
As a result of continued assistance by the USSEC Americas team, another major Mexican refiner, La Patrona, has introduced a new pure soybean oil in a three-liter bottle. Consumers want to know the source of their edible oil, and identifying pure soybean oil help differentiate it from other oils and mixed oils. The production of this new soybean oil brand started in February 2016.
The new oil was developed to cover a special market segment composed of hospitals, hotels, and restaurants (HRI) and large families. The soybean oil began to be promoted in June in a combined effort by the IPSA refinery in cooperation with USSEC.
The oil is produced from U.S. soybeans that are imported by IPSA at a current amount of more than 400,000 metric tons per year. The new oil is expected to help to increase the imports of U.S. soybean oil and soybeans in the coming years.
USSEC recently participated in the 2nd Tofu Competition and the 6th Japan Tofu Shop Summit in Kumamoto City, Kumamto Prefecture, Japan. A record 270 participants, including tofu companies, soy wholesalers, and government leaders from throughout Japan attended the event. The event was organized by Zentoren and the General Incorporated Foundation National Federation of Tofu, and was sponsored by USSEC; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Zen-noh. National and local TV stations, including NHK, also participated.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura and Human Utilization Director Masi Tateishi represented USSEC.
This event offered younger leaders in Japan’s tofu industry the opportunity to interact with each other and learn about products and marketing to educate the next generation of leaders to be successful and sustainable. In 1960, the number of tofu shops in Japan was 51,596, but was down to 8,017 in 2014. This reduction demonstrates that tofu is the most fragmented and artisanal business with the highest numbers of players in the Japanese food industry. Thus, product innovation and sustainability is the key for survival in next generation. The discussion for the 2016 Tofu Summit also included upcoming new fair competition rules, a case study of image branding, and “Tofu Meister” progress.
Mr. Nishimura gave a guest speech followed by special guest Yoshimasa Hayashi, the former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, emphasizing the U.S. Soy advantage with impending record high production. Ms. Tateishi participated as a judge at the tofu competition and tasted 107 different tofus. The total numbers of entries this year was 668, 5 times larger than last year, when preliminary contests conducted in 7 regions across Japan throughout the year had selected the 107 finalists.
The top three prizes were given. First place was presented to the Japan Nutrition School Lunch Association, Tochigi Prefecture; second place went to Tofu Kobo Ajika, Gunma Prefecture; and Tominari Goro Shoten, Nagano Prefecture was awarded third place.
Zentoren announced that the 7th Tofu Summit to be held in Tokyo in December 2017.
USSEC, in coordination with Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Tokyo and Agricultural Trade Office (ATO), recognized the best tofu using 100 percent imported U.S. Soy, beginning in 2016. The inaugural award was given to Satonoyuki Shokuhin/ Shikoku Kakoki of Tokushima Prefecture.
“I am very honored to be selected [to receive] the first commemorative U.S. Soy Ambassador Award,” stated Makoto Murao, executive director of Satonoyuki. “Our company has been using U.S. Soy for many years and thus we have been closely communicating with U.S. Soy farmers in various regions of the U.S. . .we learned U.S. Soy growers produce safe and reliable, high protein, high yield and highly suitable soy for tofu making.”
“I view [the U.S. Soy Ambassador Award] as giving us precious opportunities to convey those excellent messages about U.S. Soy farmers to our Japanese consumers as well,” he continued. “Currently, our company contracts with excellent soybean farmers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio. Recent U.S. soybean quality has improved greatly and because of it, we are able to manufacturer higher quality tofu. We believe long-term communication with those U.S. soybean farmers and our mutual understanding led to winning this award, and we are very appreciative. We look forward to sharing this happiness with those U.S. farmers.”
USSEC is currently preparing an event for the winners in coordination with FAS and ATO Tokyo. Japan, a large consumer of tofu products, used nearly 477,000 metric tons (MT) of non-GMO identity preserved (IP) soybeans in 2015. Over 42 percent of the soybeans used for tofu are from the U.S. whose market share increased 7 percent from 2012 to 2017. USSEC Japan will continue to work with and support Japan’s tofu industry by establishing a U.S. Soy Ambassador Sustainability Award in the near future to optimize the use and value of sustainable U.S. Soy.
To watch a video of this event, please click here.
USSEC Japan collaborated on an event organized by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Tokyo on June 14. The “U.S. Food Ingredients Nutrition Seminar for the Care Food Industry” reached out to those providing food for aging populations.
The conference’s goal was to introduce delicious, nutritious, and easy to cook recipes as well as information about the nutrition, safety, and versatility of stable-supply ingredients for the care food industry, which is expected to further expand in the future due to Japan’s aging society.
During her opening address, Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) Director, Rachel Nelson said, “People over the age of 65 make up a quarter of the Japanese population. Japan is a very important market for the U.S., as Japan imports about $13 billion (USD) of agriculture and food ingredients annually.”
The seminar’s audience included food manufacturers and caterers providing food for aging clients as well as nutritionists at care facilities. In addition to USSEC, U.S. cooperators included the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council, and the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Council, among others.
Two technical speakers discussed the benefits of nuts, fruits, seafood, meat, and soy for the aging population and how to incorporate these foods into healthy diets. They also highlighted the nutritional components Omega 3, polyphenols, high quality protein, and fiber.
USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager & Japan HU Director Masi Tateishi promoted U.S. Soy’s superior advantage by discussing its sustainability and stable supply using a display of soy ingredients and marketing materials.
USSEC believes demographic trends in Japan appear favorable for the care food industry as well as for the soy industry due to soy’s high nutritional value. It is vital to continue to communicate such value provides beyond basic nutrition to both the Japanese industry and society.
USSEC is working in a partnership with private and government entities in the Americas region on a series of soy social programs to improve child nutrition.
This year, USSEC extended the coverage and scope of its social programs project to Colombia to implement an interactive way to teach nutrition to vulnerable populations.
On June 9, USSEC consultant – South America Belinda Pignotti, together with Gabriela Santos, director of the Foundation Las Golondrinas, and Maria Lia Neira, MNR Comunicaciones y Ediciones director, presented the public – private alliance between the Medellin, Colombia government (Alcaldia de Medellin) and its food security ministry, Las Golondrinas Foundation, with the support of the Colombian Welfare Institute (ICBF) and USSEC to the media in Medellin. 26 journalists attended the media event where a Medellin government representative spoke about the importance of developing interactive programs to promote nutrition, including soy in daily diets as well as supporting the local industry.
On June 26, the Circus of Soy was held in Medellin. The event was designed to be an interactive performance conceptualized to engage children while teaching them the basic concepts of nutrition and healthy food, including soy, as part of a daily diet. The program aimed to educate future consumers about soyfoods.
500 kids were provided with the opportunity to participate in a whole learning experience about soy, nutrition, and healthy food in a didactic and interactive way with dance and magic tricks in which soy was the main character and protagonist.
One of the main topics was to differentiate the origins of soy and explain its good quality and nutritional value as a complete protein with healthy fats. The children were also taught that soy is an excellent animal feed and is a sustainable, environmentally friendly crop that helps the planet.
The children prepared easy recipes with soy and enjoyed a lunch prepared with soy including a soy hamburger, red berry soymilk shake, and soy chocolate cookies.
To complement the program, the MNR team composed a soy song, which explain the traceability of this seed to show the kids the versatility and huge potential of soybeans.
At the end of the performance and the lunch, the kids reviewed the learned concepts making puzzles and drawing things related to soy and nutrition. Children also received a bag filled with soy products and a didactic booklet to use at home.
The Circus Of Soy was complemented with a soy cooking class for 300 community mothers.
During this workshop, the moms learned new soy recipes and talked with USSEC nutritionist Guadalupe Esquivel about soy’s nutritional and health benefits.
At a farm, the kids learned about the soy crop, how to take care the environment the way U.S. Soy producers do, and how soy provides good nutrition for animals. They planted their own soybean seeds to bring it home so they could watch for germination. The children also had the opportunity to feed animals and learned the difference between animal and vegetable proteins.
With the program, USSEC accomplished the goal of teaching vulnerable populations to include soy in their diets and nutrition basics.
To listen to the soy song, just click on the arrow.
USSEC, in cooperation with India’s PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently organized a workshop on the role of soy in health and nutrition in New Delhi.
J.P. Meena, Special Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, wants to establish a partnership between soy producers and processors, given soy’s protein and other nutritional value for large-scale consumption. Mr. Meena emphasized the role of soy to combat malnutrition in India and suggested a large-scale campaign similar to the one promoting eggs to be launched for soy products as well.
USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma spoke at the event, describing soy’s nutritional qualities: “Soy is a highly nutritious food. Soybeans are one of the very few plants that provide a high quality protein with minimum saturated fat.” He continued, “Soybeans contain all of the three macronutrients required for good nutrition, as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Soybeans help people feel better and live longer with an enhanced quality of life. Soy contains 40 percent protein, making it higher in protein than any other legumes and many animal products. Protein in just 250 grams of soybean is equivalent to protein in 3 liters of milk or 1 kilogram of mutton or 24 eggs.”
Dr. Sharma also discussed various soy products, including soy milk, tofu, soy nuggets, soy fortified wheat and graham flour, and soy-based dal analogue, saying that these products have been produced using high-end processing, and that they are tasty and safe for consumption.
He further accentuated that soy could be an excellent solution to reduce the protein calorie malnutrition in India and that the Indian government should include soy as a main nutritional ingredient for various supplementary nutrition and welfare programs. Dr. Sharma pointed out that soy-fortified wheat flour can be widely used in the public distribution system and that India imports more than five million metric tons (MMT) of dal (lentils) from other countries. He believes that the government should promote soy-based dal analogue because it is less expensive than traditional dal and superior in nutrition.
John Slette, Senior Attaché for Agriculture Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in India, emphasized the role of soy in food and nutrition security in the country. Mr. Slette was very positive about the efforts that the Indian government is making to fight malnutrition and suggested that soy products could be a cheaper source of protein for India’s population.
Since ancient times, women across nations and cultures have looked for botanical skin care treatments to reduce the effects of aging. According to traditional Chinese folklore, women working in the tofu industry had the most beautiful skin. Today, many women—and men—desire youthful-looking skin and are looking for ways, including diet, to lessen the visible effects of aging.
Worldwide sales in the cosmetics industry have been reported at an estimated $170 billion USD annually, with skin care products accounting for the largest segment of sales. Now it appears that the benefits of soy go beyond the well-recognized moisturizing and topical applications. Recently-published research strongly suggests that the isoflavones in soy may be an important ingredient for reducing the effects of skin aging. Increasingly, attention is being paid to how the food we eat affects our skin—it is the beauty within concept. According to Yale University School of Medicine researchers, “Diet is a very important factor affecting skin health and wrinkles.”
Clinical evidence increasingly supports the notion that isoflavones favorably impact skin. The most recent study supporting this notion, which was published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, found a statistically significant reduction in wrinkles in postmenopausal women in response to an active treatment that included just 25 mg of isoflavones—an amount provided by approximately one serving of traditional soyfoods. This amount is well within the range consumed by older people in Japan—and is an amount that can easily be incorporated into the diet.
It has been observed that wrinkling in Asians is not noticeable until age 50, and that even then its degree is not as marked as in the Caucasian population. Now those observations are bolstered by scientific evidence. The aforementioned randomized double-blind study showed that isoflavones, when part of a beverage of bioactive ingredients, lead to a reduction in wrinkles in postmenopausal women.
In this 14-week study, women were assigned to one of three groups—a control group, or one of two groups receiving a beverage containing a mixture of bioactive compounds including isoflavones. Results show that the two test groups experienced a reduction in the severity of skin roughness compared with the placebo group. In particular, there was a change in the parameter considered the primary indicator of wrinkle depth. The average wrinkle reduction was 10 percent, and there was a positive correlation between baseline wrinkles and the response to the active beverage. That is, the greater the wrinkle depth at baseline, the greater the improvement.
While the results of this one study may not be sufficient for reaching definitive conclusions, they add to existing data on both topical application and ingestion of soy isoflavones in the prevention of skin aging. A Wake Forest University researcher who has conducted work in this area concluded, “Oral soy supplementation has a role in dermatology for postmenopausal women.”
As part of its public education initiative, USSEC publicizes soy-related research and highlights the work of experts conducting studies on the health effects of eating soyfoods. Interest in the effects of isoflavones on overall skin health is not surprising, given that isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors, which are present in the skin. Estrogen therapy is thought to improve skin elasticity, water-holding capacity, pigmentation and vascularity. Estrogens also influence hair follicles.
Another recent study evaluating the effects of isoflavones on skin health involved two groups of 20 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 to 65 years who consumed for three months their usual diet with or without 20 grams per day of an isoflavone-rich soy protein. Women in the isoflavone group demonstrated statistically significant improvements in facial skin wrinkling, discoloration and overall appearance.
Mark Messina, PhD, MS, Executive Director of the Soy Nutrition Institute points out that several questions regarding isoflavones and skin health still need to be addressed. “At what point does the reduction in wrinkles in response to isoflavones plateau? And, will long-term use permanently slow the development of wrinkles that normally accompanies aging? The answers to these questions will help solidify the precise role of isoflavones and soyfoods on aging skin.” Meanwhile, when considering the totality of the clinical evidence, a strong case can be made that isoflavones are important contributors to skin health.
USSEC will be sponsoring the Northern Crop Institute’s (NCI) fourth annual Soybean Procurement Management Program for Importers in Fargo, North Dakota from October 10-14.
This course is designed to bring together suppliers and buyers of specialty soybeans to determine how U.S. food soybean exporters can best meet buyers’ needs.
Topics covered will include: world and U.S. soybean production and outlook; using fundamental analysis to predict future prices of commodities; soybean hedging principles; implications for soybean importing decisions; and contracting strategies for soybean imports.
The program will also feature field visits and hands-on time, including a tour of food grade soybean processing facilities; a soybean field visit and demonstration to help buyers understand the process of harvesting and storage); a visit to the North Dakota Grain Inspection Service to learn about soybean grading standards/quality characteristics; and a soymilk demonstration and sensory evaluations.
Both suppliers of specialty soybeans and companies participating in the course will give presentations.
“This is a great program that helps current and prospective importers of U.S. identity preserved food grade soybeans do a better job of procuring their ingredient needs and managing their risk,” says Marypat Corbett, USSEC Marketing Director – Human Nutrition/Oil.
Soyfoods may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer – the most common cancer among U.S. men. Clinical and epidemiologic evidence suggests that eating soyfoods such as tofu and edamame may not only help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, but also may help improve the prognosis of men with this disease.
In soyfood-consuming countries such as Japan and China, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are very low. In the U.S., age-adjusted prostate cancer incidence rates are about ten times higher than Japanese rates. Researchers have found that Asian men who consumed higher amounts of soy (one-and-a-half to two servings per day) were about 50 percent less likely to have prostate cancer than Asian men who consumed little soy.
“Men are becoming increasingly conscious about maintaining good health as they age, and soy is one of the foods that can help them accomplish that goal,” says A. Elizabeth Sloan, PhD, president of Sloan Trends.
Through its public education initiative, USSEC shares research and highlights the work of experts who have conducted studies on the health benefits of eating soy. Ömer Küçük, M.D., conducted the first clinical trials demonstrating that soy isoflavones may benefit prostate cancer patients. He also was the first to report that isoflavones prevent the adverse effects of radiation in prostate cancer patients. Soyfoods are uniquely rich sources of isoflavones.
Dr. Küçük is professor of Hematology-Oncology and Urology, leader of the Prostate Cancer Research Program and chief of Genitourinary Medical Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. He and his research team found that soy isoflavones reduce or stabilize serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in patients with prostate cancer. They also decrease the side effects of radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients. Regarding dietary recommendations, Dr. Küçük says, “I recommend a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and legumes, including soy products, as a cancer preventive and healthy diet. This is true for prostate cancer patients as well as people without cancer.”
Raymond Bergan, M.D., began working with soy because epidemiological data suggested that people whose diet is soy-based, such as those from China, had a lower incidence of metastatic prostate cancer. He is currently head of Hematology and Medical Oncology in the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine and associate director of Medical Oncology for the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Dr. Bergan’s research suggests that isoflavones, and specifically the main isoflavone in soybean genistein, may help inhibit the growth and spread of prostate tumors. He explains, “The key to understanding this is to understand the importance of concentration. With dietary consumption of soy, a certain concentration is achieved in the blood. Scientifically, we say ‘low nanomolar concentrations,’ but I like to think of them as dietary concentrations. At dietary concentrations, genistein will stop the spread of prostate tumors.”
Ongoing research studies continue to investigate the possible health benefits of soy. Both Dr. Küçük and Dr. Bergan have ideas for the direction of future research. Dr. Bergan suggests conducting a phase III randomized placebo controlled study to determine whether genistein can benefit men who are at high risk for developing prostate cancer. Dr. Küçük would like to see studies evaluating the effects of soy isoflavones in conjunction with chemotherapy and immunotherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Finally, according to Mark Messina, PhD, MS, “Because soyfoods contain numerous biologically active compounds that provide a number of health benefits and are excellent sources of high-quality protein, all men, not just those concerned about prostate health, should try to incorporate soy into their diet.
USSEC is raising the voice of science and sustainability in U.S. soybean trade to Taiwan while offering consumers the choice of both genetically modified organism (GMO) and non-GMO U.S. soybeans.
In 2014/2015, the United States ranked #1 with $669 million in total soybean sales to the island nation that depends on imports. Yet, consumer and political challenges to biotechnology confront U.S. soybean exports.
Starting in 2015, Taiwan required companies to label GMO soybeans and food products, such as soybean milk, tofu, and soybean protein products entering the country. By October 2015, street vendors and small stores had to label raw materials. Effective January 2016, businesses were obligated to label GMO food products such as soy sauce. Meanwhile, U.S. exporters must prove traceability and face more customs requirements and paperwork.
USSEC has used soybean checkoff and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP) funds to assist U.S. exporters and assure Taiwan’s soy food companies and their customers that U.S. Soy is safe and sustainable. In 2015, USSEC established a website to share solutions with soy food processors on how to respond to consumer concerns regarding the safety of their soy foods that contain biotechnology ingredients.
MAP funds also assisted USSEC in convening a Biotech Soybean Education Forum in July 2015.
A post-forum survey showed that more than 80 percent of the participants became more confident in the safety of GMOs. These results form a foundation for USSEC’s MAP-funded 2016 sustainability education that faces an internet-based anti-GMO campaign. USSEC is working with Taiwanese companies that will add a new “Sustainable U.S. Soy” logo to their products.
Even with heightened regulatory requirements, Taiwan’s consumption of U.S. Soy remains high and stable, including through foods, such as tofu and soymilk. The USDA reports that in 2015, the U.S. exported 280 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybeans for food utilization, including 26 TMT of non-GMO soybeans valued at $20 million USD.
In 2012, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) helped level the playing field for U.S. food-grade soybean sales when it established a tariff rate quota (TRQ).
USSEC has served as quarterback to U.S. soybean growers and exporters that now score a 98 percent utilization of this preferential TRQ with South Korea.
“USDA was instrumental in getting the quota established,” says United Soybean Board (USB) director Mark Caspers, who spoke about soy sustainability and quality at the April 2016 U.S. Food-Bean Buyers Conference and Tabletop Trade Show. “Today, I see it as a team effort to meet the quota. The quota doesn’t do us any good if we aren’t getting the tonnage in there.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Market Development (FMD) program has partnered with soybean checkoff investments in Korea. The FTA allows food companies to buy direct from U.S. exporters. USSEC’s role is to educate U.S. food-bean exporters on how to sell increasing amounts to the Korean market.
They have succeeded. The U.S. food-bean industry sold 250,400 metric tons (MT) valued at $158 million in 2015 alone. Since the FTA went into force between Korea and U.S. in 2012, U.S. market share in imported food-soybean market has increased from 58 percent in 2012 to 85 percent in 2015. The ratio of TRQ executed by the Korean soy food processors against allocations increased to 98 percent in 2015 from 95 percent in 2014, 60 percent in 2013 and 35 percent in 2012.
FMD 2015 funding also aided USSEC in bringing a Korean team of buyers to the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Minneapolis. To continue ramping up trade relationships, FMD funds contributed to USSEC hosting the April 2016 U.S. Food-Bean Buyers Conference and Tabletop Trade Show in Seoul that drew 38 purchasing staff and three top executives from Korea’s soy food processing industry.
Importantly, U.S. food-bean exporters, including the DeLong Company of Wisconsin, traveled to this USDA-supported conference. Austin DeLong, DeLong’s non-GMO marketing manager, says USSEC events have facilitated countless connections, noting that these buyer relationships allow his company to pay premiums to the southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwestern Ohio soybean growers who sell to DeLong. The company has also hosted USSEC soybean trade teams that allowed them to show the benefits of U.S. Soy as well as the processing and handling of it.
Additionally, DeLong found value in the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), which further differentiates U.S. Soy from that of other origins. In pursuit of sustainable soy, the largest trade organization of food-bean end-users, Korea Federation of Tofu Cooperatives (KFTC), decided to request U.S. SSAP certificates as one of the required documents for identity preserved food-bean imports from the U.S.
USSEC recently participated in the Chinese Cuisine Gourmet Exhibition organized by the Japan Association of Chinese Cuisine, held at Ceruleantower Hotel in Tokyo, in conjunction with the 11th National Chinese Cusine Contest for Young Cooks.
The Association of Chinese Cuisine, chaired by Chen Kenichi, known as Iron Chef, was established in 1978 for the purpose of research, the promotion of Chinese cuisine, and to educate cooks. Soy oil use in Chinese cuisine is the largest segment of single unmixed vegetable oil in Japan with a volume estimated at 70,000 metric tons (MT). According to the vegetable oil industry, 80 to 90 percent of vegetable oil used in Chinatown in Yokohama City used to be dominated by soy oil brands, thus some Chinese cooks still have a consistent preference of using soy oil for their cuisine. Therefore, USSEC Japan identified Chinese cooks as a good target to increase the awareness and preference of U.S. soy oil.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura and USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager and Japan HU Director Masi Tateishi participated in the event by setting up a USSEC booth. Other exhibitors included soy processors such as Kikkoman, Nestle, Ajinomoto, Lee Kum Kee, Fuji Oil, and Kirin promoting soy sauces and soymilk, among other soy products.
Mr. Nishimura gave a presentation on U.S. Soy production and sustainability to disseminate information regarding the advantage and sustainability of U.S. Soy to about 40 Chinese cooks.