USSEC Conducts Soy Flour Fortification Event in India
- General News
USSEC recently conducted a soy flour fortification event in India. The program was organized in two parts in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on September 1. The program was held in coordination with Indian soy flour utilization stakeholder associations, including the Wheat Products Promotion Society, Roller Flour Millers Federation of India, Society of Indian Bakers, and All India Bread Manufacturers Association. The activity was planned in conjunction with the 7th International Wheat Conference to create a greater impact.
The first activity, “Soy Flour Quality Improvement for Better Acceptability and Wider Applicability,” was attended by approximately forty representatives from the soy crush industry (soy flour manufacturers), solvent extraction plant supplying, the engineering company Servotech and a few selected flour millers including ITC Limited, which is already involved in the soy fortification business and trade. Most of India’s soy flour producers also attended this program, including large scale crushers Ruchi Soy Industries; Sonic Biochem; Vippy Extractions; Gujarat Ambuja Exports; AdaniWilmar; and ADM, among others. USSEC gave four presentations during the session, and Servotech, soy flour experts from the industry and representatives from wheat flour milling companies also spoke.
India is a huge potential market for defatted soy flour. The quality of soy flour produced in India is very high in acid insoluble ash content, which is mainly in the form of sand and silica. Color inconsistency is a major barrier in its takeoff in the food industry, flour milling companies for fortification, general consumption and the Government of India (GOI) feeding and social welfare programs. Soy flour utilizing companies, including the flour millers involved in supply of soy fortified wheat flour in Gujarat through the Public Distribution System (PDS), expressed their views on soy flour quality concerns, which were addressed by technical experts and subject matter specialists.
A very productive deliberation and discussion took place during the panel discussion on the problems faced by stakeholders and the relevant remedy in improving soy flour quality for greater acceptability. Desired acid insoluble ash and color consistency could be maintained by the soy flour producers if a premium amount is paid by the soy flour utilizing industry.
The second activity, “National Consultancy on Soy Wheat Blend for Masses,” was conducted during the second half of the program. Approximately 115 attendees from the flour milling industry, bakery, feeding program contractors, and soy flour producers/suppliers participated, in addition to the Additional Chief Secretary from the Government of Gujarat, who played a major role in initiating and implementing the supply of the soy fortified wheat flour in PDS in Gujarat.
This government official gave the keynote address, delivering a motivating speech to the flour mill and bakery industries to fortify their wheat flour and bakery products with soy flour for its value addition towards better marketing opportunities. USSEC discussed soy flour fortification opportunities, followed by presentations and talks from representatives from the flour milling and bakery industries and the president of the Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association of India (SFPWA).
During the panel discussion, key points on the soy flour production and utilization were discussed, including the revival of the Gujarat soy fortification program and the extension of this concept to other Indian states. The hurdles and bottlenecks in the implementation of these programs were discussed at length, and it was decided that all stakeholders, including USSEC, will work jointly to promote soy flour in the government feeding and social welfare programs and general consumption.
During this session, issues related to fortification, raw material availability, quality control, the overall soy scenario of India, possibilities and potential of soy utilization in the government feeding and social welfare programs, high pricing, production, and unsustainable supply were raised as major concerns by participants. These worries were addressed by the respective panelists. Many of the flour millers wished to have instant technical help in cases of problems in the soy flour and wheat flour combination trials and in establishing the brand in the market.
The event also provided an excellent platform for interaction between the soy flour manufacturers and the wheat millers to develop the trade linkages between them for the future course of business development.
The third activity was merged with the 7th International Seminar on Wheat and Wheat Products: “New Technologies and Marketing Opportunities,” which was held September 2-3.
The program was introduced by India’s eminent agricultural scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, who is known as the father of the Green Revolution in India. Dr. Swaminathan worked with Dr. Norman Borlaug to implement the green revolution concepts in India.
Program organizers gave USSEC an opportunity to co-chair the food and nutritional security session with a presentation slot, “Role of Soy Flour/Foods: A Sustainable Source of Nutrition for The Food and Nutritional Security of India.” This program was attended by more than 200 participants and highlighted the potential of soyfood products/flour in the National Food and Security Mission of the Indian Government. The representatives of GAIN (Global Alliance in Nutrition) and FFI (Food Fortification Initiative) also supported USSEC’s soy flour fortification initiatives. Representatives from the school lunch program and the supplementary nutrition programs run by the Indian government also expressed their views and experiences on soy utilization for the masses.
In addition to providing USSEC with the opportunity to co-chair the session and deliver the speech on soy fortification opportunities, the organizers also honored USSEC by bestowing platinum status sponsorship, along with complementary registration to all soy flour manufacturers and others recommended by USSEC to attend the international wheat conference.
In all of these sessions, USSEC communicated the strong message of utilizing soy flour for better nutrition, improved functionality of the product, ingredient cost saving, and the overall economics of fortification in terms of nutrition and monetary gain to flour millers and other food processing industries.
India produces more than 95 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat each year. A considerable volume at a minimum of 5 percent fortification level will consume more than 2 MMT of soy flour equivalent to 2.6 MMT of whole soybeans. USSEC India is working to improve the quality of soy flour to increase the soy fortification level in wheat flour.