News: Soy Foods
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.
As part of the demand-building activity for soy-based multigrain dal maker, USSEC India’s Human Utilization program conducted an event focused on ‘Do How’ and ‘Know How,’ coinciding with the launching of the product on February 9 in Tirupati, a city located in the province of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. The event was jointly held with Ruchi Soya Industries and targeted end users. The objective was to create awareness and interest on the unique attributes of soy-based multigrain dal maker and its varied product applications. The ‘Know How’ sessions were handled by USSEC, while an executive chef from a reputed hotel focused the ‘Do How’ session on preparing region-specific culinary products.
Dal is one of India’s most popular dishes. It is traditionally made of lentils, peas, or beans, which are split, dried and stripped of their hulls. It is often eaten with rice as a side dish or included in other dishes.
The event was formally inaugurated by Mrs. Sugunamma, a member of the legislative assembly from the government of Andhra Pradesh, who was pleased to learn the nutritional and economic benefits of this innovative product. She is convinced of the high nutritional significance of soy-based multigrain dal maker as a carrier of high protein nutrition to the needy and spoke about how such a low cost, high nutrition food product should be gainfully utilized in all government-funded nutrition intervention programs in the state. She also stressed that this low cost – high nutrition product should be made available to the vulnerable sections and those segments of the population that are nutrition-deprived and offered the support of her offices to promote the product to government officials and opinion leaders.
More than 120 end user segments including restaurants, hotels, catering establishments, opinion leaders and members of media and press attended the event.
USSEC consultants and industry representatives addressed various topics covering the manufacturing, quality protocols and nutritional attributes of soy-based multigrain dal maker. Ruchi Soya Industries’ head of marketing explained the market process and product outreach. The ‘Do How’ segment was showcased by the hotel’s executive chef, who together with his team demonstrated the preparation of great tasting and highly nutritive regional food preparations including tomato dal, spinach dal, sambar (spiced dal soup with vegetables), dal pyasam (sweet dessert made with dal, milk and sugar) and local snacks such as dal vada and samosa.
The participants sampled all prepared foods containing soy-based dal maker and rated the products extremely high on acceptability and taste. Four customers from the catering and restaurant segment placed orders for the product immediately.
A large number of press and media attended this session and USSEC Director – India Soy Food Program Dr. M. M. Krishna and Awesh Jain of Ruchi Soya Industries briefed the press and clarified aspects of the product and suggested many application possibilities. The event was widely covered in many regional and language newspapers.
Please click here to read the article from The Hindu, which has a circulation of 15,58,379 copies.
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.
USSEC recently conducted an event, “Protein for All,” primarily targeting India’s animal feed and soybean meal industries along with protein end users, both meat and non-meat consumption sectors. The event was conducted in Patna (North India) and was attended by 125 participants and representatives of the media who spread the protein message to a wider audience.
India’s large population coupled with low protein consumption qualifies the country for some effective pull marketing strategies. Two major constraints still exist in the Indian community – knowledge of daily protein requirements is low, as is the ability to calculate dietary protein requirements based on different types of food products available. Knowledge about the economics of protein sources and different types of protein products and their characteristics is also lacking. The staple diet of most Indians is cereal- and pulse-based, which delivers about 20 grams (g) of protein per day.
USSEC animal utilization consultant Dr. Pawan Kumar conceptualized the idea of “Protein for All” in order to educate a diverse audience on creating customer opportunities to increase the consumption of animal products (poultry meat, eggs, fish, and shrimp) in addition to cereals and pulses. The event also recommended the use of texturized soy products as direct protein supplement for non-meat eaters.
Four focused presentations were made during the session.
Dr. Suresh Itapu, director of Food and Agri Consulting Services in Hyderabad, discussed protein requirements for different age groups and activity groups. Dr. Itapu explained protein’s structure and how it is synthesized in the human body. He stated that an adult with low activity should take 0.8 g protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight, an adult with medium activity should consume 1g/kg of body weight, and a high activity or stressed person should consume 1.2 g protein/kg of body weight. For growing children, the requirement is 1.5 g/kg of body weight for low activity and 1.8 g/kg body weight for children with high physical activity. Athletes’ requirements vary between 2 – 2.5 g/kg of body weight.
USSEC animal utilization consultant Dr. Yadu Nandan presented a mathematical approach on how protein intake can be monitored, demonstrating that protein intake can be guided at every meal by measuring cooking and serving on a plate.
USSEC Country Representative – Sri Lanka Dr. Athula Mahagamagae spoke about different sources of protein, its significance, and its health benefits. His focus was on poultry and egg products and their nutritional details.
In Dr. Kumar’s presentation, he discussed the basic differences in food habits of south Asians and the rest of world. Proportions based on half meat and half cereal is the norm worldwide, but in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, cereals and a small quantity of pulses form staple diets. Pulse production is not meeting demand, resulting in reduction in per capita availability of pulses in the region. This trend reduces protein supply from pulses in the region. Dr. Kumar recommended that alternate protein solutions could be obtained from increasing the consumption of milk, chicken, egg, fish, and various other soy protein-based food products. Chicken and eggs are the cheapest source of animal-based protein for meat eaters in India; it costs $ 1.51 for 100 g of chicken protein and $ 1.28 for 100 g of egg protein, while the cheapest form of protein is derived from texturized soy products at $ 0.24 for 100 g protein.
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.
USSEC Japan participated in the 21st National Natto Competition Award Ceremony held at Seiyoken in Ueno, Tokyo in conjunction with the 62nd annual board meeting of the Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation to present an award to the winner of 2016 Red River Valley U.S. Award.
The Red River Valley U.S. Award was established by USSEC in the U.S. Soybean Prize Category in the 2011 National Natto Competition in collaboration with the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association (NFGSA) to build the total brand value of U.S. Soybeans in the natto industry.
NFGSA vice chairman Bob Sinner presented the Red River Valley U.S. Award certificate and plaque to the winner. Jess Pauslon, Agricultural Attaché from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo, made a congratulatory speech during the ceremony highlighting the U.S. commitment to consistently supply U.S. soybeans to the Japanese natto industry, and praised the natto industry for making a concerted, enthusiastic effort to promote the value of natto.
The winner of the 6th Red River Valley U.S. Award was Sasanuma Goro Shoten, located in Ibaragi Prefecture. Company president Hiroshi Sasamuma has been printing his U.S. soybean farmer’s name and U.S. flag on his natto product for several years.
Current soy use for Japanese natto production per year is 126,000 metric tons (MT) and the natto retail market size in value is approximately $1.8 billion USD, a 14 percent increase between 2011 and 2014.
USSEC and FNGSA will continue to commit to the Japanese natto industry. U.S. Soy supplies 80 percent of the natto industry’s needs, strengthening sustainable U.S. Soy sales and preserving brand loyalty.
USSEC conducted a negotiation course on April 6 and 7 with the objective of increasing the sales of U.S. soybean oil. This workshop was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and representatives from the Dominican’s soybean oil refineries’ sales forces attended.
The workshop was given by USSEC consultant Javier Sanchez and provided participants with the knowledge necessary to improve their negotiation skills and strategies. The attendees have to make different negotiations with supermarkets, distributors and other stores in their sales positions. The primary skills that they learned were: the main roles in a negotiation agreement; the position when people negotiate; know that a win-win position is the best alternative; and steps for a successful negotiation. This was a dynamic and interactive course.
USSEC consultants Jorge Martínez and Fradbelin Escarraman presented topics related to soybean oil to provide additional sales tools to event participants. Mr. Escarraman opened the event and spoke about USSEC’s mission and market opportunities for soybean oil in various market segments. Mr. Martínez spoke about the characteristics and nutrition benefits of U.S. soybean oil and about the uses of U.S. soybean oil in the food industry.
USSEC hosted a two-day soybean oil marketing roundtable in Busan, South Korea on April 29 and 30.
The objective of the roundtable was to determine opportunities for and threats to soybean oil and to discuss the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) as a tool to differentiate soybean oil produced from U.S. soybeans.
Participants included eight soybean purchasing, soybean oil production, and marketing staff from two local crushing companies and their association.
USSEC delivered information on the nutritional benefits of soybean oil with a focus on fatty acid profile; the changing dietary habits of Korean public consumers as family size shrinks; and soybean oil promotional activities in other regions of the world. Attendees also heard a presentation about the benefits of the SSAP in its marketing effort for soybean oil. Participants heard key messages including soybean oil’s health benefits, including an ideal ratio of poly- vs. mono- vs. saturated fatty acid (P:M:S) and omega 6 vs. omega 3 fatty acid (ω-6:ω-3). The home meal replacement (HMR) sector is potentially a promising market for soybean oil because of the increase of people who are eating out and ordering take out as family size shrinks.
Through its public education initiative, USSEC shares soy-related research, and highlights the work of experts conducting studies on the health effects of eating soy.
According to Mexican researchers, one benefit of soyfoods is improving insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of developing diabetes. Nimbe Torres, Ph.D., and Armando R. Tovar, Ph.D., both from the Department of Physiology of Nutrition at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, have been conducting diabetes-related research focused on the effects of soy protein and soyfoods.
Insulin helps cells (muscle, fat and liver cells) absorb glucose and use it for energy. With the condition of insulin resistance, the body does not effectively use the insulin it produces, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among the clinical trials Drs. Torres and Tovar have conducted is one using different functional foods, including 25 grams (g) of soy protein, as part of a dietary strategy.
“During the development of obesity, several metabolic abnormalities appear gradually. One of them is insulin resistance,” say Drs. Torres and Tovar. “Over time, the development of insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.”
Research conducted by Drs. Torres and Tovar takes on new relevance in an era when diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. In the U.S., a 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report found that 29.1 million people (9.3 percent of the population) have diabetes. The percentage of people with diabetes is even higher in Mexico. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there were 9 million cases of diabetes in Mexico in last year (approximately 12 percent of the country’s population). However, making diet and lifestyle changes—including maintaining a healthy weight and increasing physical activity—can delay or even prevent diabetes.
“Previous studies in our department with patients with type 2 diabetes have demonstrated that adding soy protein to the breakfast meal helps to limit the rise in blood glucose levels, which will in turn helps to minimize damage to the arteries which is common in people with diabetes,” state Drs. Torres and Tovar. In addition to eating at least 25 g of soy protein a day, they recommend that those with diabetes reduce their intake of refined carbohydrates and lower their intake of saturated fats. “Preliminary results have shown that the adoption of this dietary strategy significantly reduces insulin resistance and glycated hemoglobin, an indication of better long-term glucose control.”
According to Mark Messina, Ph.D., M.S., “People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing heart disease and renal disease. There is evidence that soyfoods are protective against both of those diseases, so there are several reasons for people with diabetes to make soy a part of their diet.”
USSEC India, in collaboration with the Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association of India (SFPWA) and the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), recently conducted a consultation session for the development of a white paper on soy nutrition.
The purpose of this activity was to create a background paper on soy nutrition, which will include techno-commercial aspects on the topic and will serve as a reference for premier institutes dealing with nutrition; government departments, including decision-making ministries; and industry stakeholders. This reference document will be used to gather consensus on soy nutrition and approve its suitability into more government feeding and supplementary nutrition programs in India.
At the white paper session, the participants jointly developed the draft and incorporated suggestions and modifications. Various authorities will validate the document, following this exercise. A four-page summary of this background note in the form of a white paper will be published. As a final step, the document will be forwarded to government ministers and is envisioned to become the government’s reference for soy.
USSEC Director-India Food Program Ratan Sharma took cues from a white paper that was previously developed and accepted by the government for inclusion of coarse grains in supplementary nutrition, feeding, and welfare programs. Dr. Sharma feels that the white paper will potentially increase the soy utilization opportunity in feeding programs by further strengthening various norms and procedures covered under decision-making.
This program was conducted in Indore (Central India) in collaboration with SOPA and also had active participation from the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), which is the premier nutrition institute of India’s government, Department of Biotechnology, Food and Nutrition Board, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Indian Council Of Agriculture Research, North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC), university representatives and soy food industry partners such as ITC, Adani Wilmar, and Solidaridad. This activity was well covered by the print media and local TV channels, which helped it obtain wider publicity.
USSEC hosted the 2016 U.S. Food-Bean Buyers Conference and Tabletop Trade Show on April 7 in Seoul, South Korea. The objective of the conference was to support U.S. food-bean exporters and Korean food-bean end-users / importers to take full advantage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The conference was attended by 38 purchasing staff and 3 top executives from Korea’s soyfood processing industry; 10 USSEC member companies (Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc.; CHS, Inc.; Clarkson Grain Co., Inc.; The DeLong Co., Ltd.; Global Processing Inc.; Natural Products, Inc.; SB&B Foods, Inc.; Soyko International, Inc.; and SunOpta, Inc.); United Soybean Board (USB) director Mark Caspers; USSEC Regional Director – North Asia Paul Burke; and USSEC Marketing Director – Human Nutrition/Oil Marypat Corbett.
Mr. Caspers gave a presentation, “U.S. Soy Supply – Assuring Sustainability and Quality IP Food Beans” at the conference. Other conference topics included the U.S. inland grain logistics; U.S. food grade soybean acreage insights; sustainable U.S. Soy; and Korea’s Special Act on Imported Food Safety. At the tabletop trade show, U.S. food-bean exporters displayed their food-bean samples on the tables and had individual meetings with Korean food-bean importers. Following the conference, 15 U.S. participants visited tofu plants at Dongwha Food Co., Ltd. and Busan port, which is the destination port for non-GM food-soybean import via container.