Consumers looking to achieve a high-protein diet and food companies looking to deliver on those needs with new product innovation can look to soy because soy protein meets consumer demand where it matters: It’s nutritious, versatile, and sustainably grown right here in Illinois by local farm families.
CONSUMERS WANT MORE HIGH-QUALITY PROTEIN
- Concentrated, high-quality and complete plant-based protein
- Heart healthy, digestive health benefits, high in fiber
- Supports U.S. farmers and is locally grown
- Sustainably grown
Soy provides a protein punch to a variety of applications such as cookies, powders, bars, chips, meat alternatives, shakes, cereals and more. But the power of soy isn’t just used as a food ingredient. High-quality protein sources like dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs all start with soy. Feed for animal agriculture is the No. 1 use of U.S. Soybeans. That means whether you are enjoying quality protein from a steak, chicken dinner, a protein shake or tofu – soy had a big role in the nutritional benefits of your meal.
DID YOU KNOW:
SOYBEANS PROVIDE A COMPLETE PROTEIN – ONE OF THE ONLY PLANT PROTEINS COMPARABLE IN QUALITY TO ANIMAL PROTEIN
SOYBEANS ARE HEART HEALTHY
CONSUMERS VIEW SOY AS HEALTHY
When 74% of consumers view soy as “healthy,” it’s hard to hold a light to the health halo of soy. And consumers perceive soy foods as healthy for good reason. Beyond its protein power and the heart-healthy badge it carries, soy delivers on a range of nutritional needs important to consumers.
Health Benefits of Soy:
- Soybeans are low in saturated fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and potassium.
- Boost your iron with soy. One cup of soybeans contains almost half the recommended daily intake of iron, necessary for the optimal function of hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to the blood and helps support the immune system.
- Soybeans have some of the highest magnesium concentrations of any food source, which is important for bone health, heart health and even helps lower stress and anxiety.
- Soy may protect against certain cancers. One analysis has shown total soy food intake has been associated with a 29% reduction in risk of prostate cancer, and early intake of soy has also been associated with a reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer.
SOYBEANS PROVIDE A FUNCTIONAL PLANT PROTEIN
Soy’s versatility begins with the very basics of the bean. Soybeans are essentially odorless and tasteless, so they can easily take on a variety of flavor profiles, from sweet to savory to spicy. Raw, fermented, processed, paste, milk – soy’s many forms play well in an endless number of food products and applications. It’s one of the reasons it’s a go-to for meat alternatives and meat products blended with plant protein, because when correctly processed, its texture is very similar to meat. Not only is it a great “team player” in promoting moisture and flavor retention in foods, but it also shines as the star of the show – like edamame, soy milk and tofu.
- Soy ingredients provide excellent flavor retention, emulsification aid and texture enhancement to many foods.
- Blending soy with animal protein can boost protein content in food.
- More than 80% of consumers aged 18-39 are interested in adding functional foods to their diet.
- 30% of all consumers indicated they’d be willing to pay up to 10% more for foods with functional benefits.
SOY IS VERSATILE, NUTRITIOUS AND SUSTAINABLY GROWN RIGHT HERE IN ILLINOIS
Illinois is the NO. 1 Soybean Producer in the Country
As consumers seek out good-for-them and good-for-the-planet products, they can be confident that soy delivers. Soybeans are grown in abundance in Illinois, with our state leading the country in soybean production. And our 43,000+ soybean farmers are growing this important crop more sustainably than ever before.
Conservation is Key
- Increased production by 130% while using 46% less energy per bushel.
- Decreased greenhouse gas emission per bushel by 43%.
- Decreased soil erosion by 34%.
All thanks to on-farm conservation practices that protect our resources while increasing production.
- Cover crops are crops planted in the off-season once the main soybean crop is harvested. Cover crops help keep living roots in the soil, keep the soil covered, increase plant diversity, and minimize soil disturbance. Cover crops can also be utilized for grazing material in livestock production.
- In the spring, nutrients from the cover crops are recycled back into the soil, creating rich organic matter for the primary crop, like soybeans, to thrive on, reducing fertilizer needs.
Carbon Smart No-Till Conservation
- Many Illinois soybean farmers use reduced tillage, including no-till, strip till, and vertical till, which minimizes disturbance, keeps plant material in the soil preventing erosion and protecting water quality.
- From 2019-2021, conservation tillage has prevented 67,499 tons of soil erosion.
- Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops sequentially on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimize nutrients in the soil, and combat pest and weed pressure.
- Buffers or filter strips of grass or other vegetation are used to trap valuable nutrients from being carried off fields and into waterways with heavy rain. These buffer strips also help provide areas for wildlife habitat.
- GPS, monitors and other precision tech in farming equipment allows farmers to track yields and inputs so they can change seeding and application rates – down to square inches – meaning they use just the right amount that’s needed for a crop to thrive.
Farmers Help Combat Climate Change
Nowhere else on earth is there more photosynthetic activity – adding oxygen and reducing CO2 from the environment – than right here in the Midwest. So as farmers plant their soybean crop, they’re capturing and utilizing carbon to help combat climate change.
Certified Sustainably Grown
“Sustainably grown” is becoming a non-negotiable in the grocery aisle and on food labels. Not only are consumers looking for it, but the majority expect companies to invest in more sustainable growing practices. Fortunately, U.S.-grown soybeans can be verified as “sustainably grown” through the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). SSAP sets steps for U.S. soybean farmers to continuously improve sustainability performance. When soy-based foods and ingredients carry the SSAP mark, it verifies the items originated from a system of continuous environmental improvement – delivering on demands for enhanced sustainability and traceability.
- Currently, 75% of global consumers say they expect companies to invest in sustainability. In today’s marketplace, U.S.-grown soybeans have the advantage of being verified sustainably grown.
- More than half of consumers said they would be more likely to purchase food labeled with the Sustainable U.S. Soy label.
When you choose soy, you’re choosing a locally grown plant protein with a deeply rooted sustainability story.