Press Release

Food Industry Influencers Explore Soy-based Ingredients During Farm-to-Table Dinner

August 17, 2017



Food Industry Influencers Explore Soy-based Ingredients During Farm-to-Table Dinner

CHICAGO – August 17, 2017 – Today’s consumer – often three or four generations removed from the farm – gets food information from a multitude of sources, including online, health experts, foodies and more. These voices carry a level of influence about how consumers make decisions. That’s why ongoing conversations – especially about farming – are so important.

To engage with this influential audience of food bloggers, dietitians and other food industry influencers, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program hosted a soy-inspired farm-to-table dinner, Aug. 16, at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s Smart Home.

The dinner is part of the ISA Soy in the City initiative.  The initiative shares with Chicago-area millennial consumers and influencers the different ways soybeans positively impact them in their daily lives, including sustainable, locally grown food. It’s also part of ISA’s broader initiative to expand its roots in Chicago, which is a converging point for the agriculture and food value chain.

“Chicago is interesting in that you have this major food scene for consumers and influencers to explore.  But it also has a rich agricultural history, with farmers just beyond city limits growing ingredients that make their way to restaurants and grocery stores,” says Andrew Roselius, an ISA Soy Ambassador and soybean farmer from Onarga, Ill. “There’s this heightened interest in all things local. That’s why we wanted to bring together a variety of influencers who, in their own ways, are impacting consumers. We wanted to show that local farmers like me are sustainably growing the soy-based ingredients Chicagoans use at home.”

Dinner guests tasted their way through dishes like teriyaki chicken, Asian bacon coleslaw and Southern soy-lacquered pork belly. Farmers and chefs shared their own “farm” and “table” perspectives on topics ranging from the role soybeans play in feeding Illinois pigs, to the nutritional benefits and versatility of the crop in ingredients like oil and soy sauce.

Chef Laurel Boger with Chicago-based Eli’s Cheesecake Company presented a dairy-free Belgian chocolate cheesecake during the dessert portion of the dinner. She explained the cheesecake is made from locally owned Phoenix Bean tofu, an end product of soybeans grown by Illinois farmers.

“Whether it’s our original cheesecake made with cream cheese, or a dairy-free alternative created from soy-based tofu, we pride ourselves on crafting a rich and creamy dessert that any cheesecake lover can enjoy,” says Chef Boger. “It’s a bonus for Eli’s when we can source these ingredients from Illinois farmers or Chicago-based companies, like Phoenix Bean.”

Food partners for the event included the Sodexo team at the Museum of Science and Industry, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Creative Conecepts and Phoenix Bean.

From food consumers eat, to biodiesel fueling city buses, learn how ISA shares the positive story of soybeans with Chicagoans. Follow @ilsoybean or search #SoyintheCity on Instagram.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website



Photo Caption: Andrew Roselius, a soybean farmer and Illinois Soybean Association Soy Ambassador from Onarga, Illinois, talks with dinner guests about life on the farm during a soy-inspired farm-to-table dinner at the Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home on Aug. 16. 


For more information, contact:
Amy Roady



Sarah Duwe