Soybean Minutes

Future of Food Protein Bright for Soybean Producers

Last month, I attended the Bridge 2 Food 9th Food Protein Course in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Experts in food protein research, application and manufacturing came together from around the world to discuss and demonstrate the growing market for food protein and new innovative products to meet those needs. It was an absolute privilege to listen and take part in this three-day intensive food course dealing with protein functionality, nutrition, applications, and regulations, as well as tasting food protein products made from more than 10 plant and animal protein sources.

AURI Dupont

DuPont soy product that is a meat extender.

Highlights of the course include:

  • The need for food protein must accelerate to feed the new projected world population, which is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050! Demand for food protein from a variety of plant and animal sources will be required. Soybeans produce more pounds of useable protein per acre of farmland than milk, eggs and meat, as well as many other plant proteins.
  • Soybeans are a food protein that are functional, nutritional, economical and have many benefits relevant to broad market segments. The future for soybeans indeed looks bright. DuPont scientists presented a case for soy food protein at the conference that included its wide array of soy protein isolates, nuggets and concentrates, soy lecithin and soy fiber. They indicated that the Americas will continue to be the food protein basket of the world when it comes to soybean food protein. Eighty-five percent of the world’s production is grown in North and South America. Only three countries are net exporters of soybeans and they are the United States, Brazil, and Argentina.
  • DuPont representatives showed the attendees several products derived from soybeans designed to meet the demand for protein in athletes, including ready-to-drink beverages, sports drinks, high-protein snack bars, desserts, infant formula, emulsified meats, and analogs, as well as soups and combination proteins.
  • The value proposition delivered for soybean proteins at the Bridge 2 Food course is that soybean proteins provide healthy living, child nutrition, sports nutrition and weight management. Speakers supported these claims with scientific research..
  • If taste is important to you, the new food formulation technologies shown bring out even better taste in soybean products. We had the opportunity to taste several soy crisp snacks and protein bars and look at the new meat emulsification products as well. The taste was great!
  • The advantages of soy protein are clear:
  1. Proven in Food Systems – Proven performance across a variety of foods and beverages
  2. Nutritionally complete – equivalent to meat, dairy, and egg protein
  3. Environmentally Sustainable – lower carbon footprint vs. many other protein sources        
  4. Price and Supply Stability – reduces volatility risk associated with other protein sources        
  5. Ingredient Cost Savings – a better value on a protein basis versus many other protein sources

The protein world is growing and it needs to if it will meet market demand. While other protein sources have their place, it is important for our Minnesota soybean growers to know that soy protein is an elite protein with tremendous functionality and importance in human nutrition and global food supply.