Where Might You Find Soy on your Thanksgiving Table?

As we approach the end of harvesting season, we also approach a popular U.S. holiday, Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is famous for its family reunions and copious amounts of food. At dinner you can find a stuffed turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, and for dessert, pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. While most of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving over Zoom, we can still take pleasure in cooking, eating, and giving thanks.

While we do not typically think of soybeans being served during Thanksgiving, there are a few ways that soy makes its way to your table.

First, soybeans are used for the main dish – turkey! Soybeans are an important source of amino acids for turkeys. In the early stages of their development, they are fed high-protein meal, and in the later stages they switch to “higher carbohydrates as they near market weight,” according to USSEC consultant Dr. Iani Chihaia. Furthermore, Dr. Chihaia emphasizes that “soy remains the most important amino acid supplier in the finisher diets.”

Second, ham is a popular entrée during Thanksgiving. Similar to turkey, soy is an important ingredient in swine feed. Dairy products used in your Thanksgiving dinner also fall into the category of animal-based products that use soybeans before making their way to your table.

Lastly, in shifting from animal nutrition to human consumption, the soybean oil that is produced from crushing soybeans is a widely consumed vegetable oil. It is commonly found in margarine, shortening, salad, and cooking oil. On Thanksgiving, you can find these ingredients in mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey stuffing, pie, and more.

This year at USSEC, we are thankful for all who contribute to the U.S. agriculture value chain from our hard-working farmers to valued end consumers. From the U.S. Soy Family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!