Ankeny, Iowa, April 8, 2019—Soyfoods are for everyone—men, women, adolescents, children, seniors, the health-conscious and those who have dietary restrictions. As Americans move toward more plant-based and flexitarian diets, soyfoods make sense. In observation of National Soyfoods Month in April, The Soyfoods Council is sharing reasons why soyfoods have evolved from a traditional food in authentic Asian cuisines to trendy ingredients in the U.S.
Soyfoods are a cholesterol-free choice, adding heart-healthy fats to the diet and versatility to the menu. According to Hexa Research, the U.S. soyfoods market in 2017 was estimated to be $5.12 billion and is projected to reach $8.07 billion by 2025. Soyfoods are contemporary ingredients that are in sync with current food trends in the U.S. Nearly all of the fats in soy are a mix of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat that can lower blood cholesterol levels. Soybeans are also one of the few good sources of both essential fatty acids — omega-6 and omega-3. In addition, there is evidence indicating that soyfoods reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Best of all, though, soyfoods are simple to incorporate into your favorite recipes.
1. Traditional soyfoods take on a contemporary twist. The rise of global cuisines has brought with it an appreciation for classic ingredients. A. Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., notes, “Classic Asian soy-based meat alternatives, such as tempeh and tofu, are being contemporized on menus around the world.” Sloan is president of Sloan Trends, the Escondido, California-based firm that tracks consumer food and beverage trends and behaviors as well as health and nutrition attitudes.
On its website, The Soyfoods Council offers simple ways to incorporate more soy into your diet. Suggestions include ways to tweak your favorite recipes with ingredients such as tofu.
2. Soy is a natural choice for plant-based eating. Sloan says that plant-based product claims on new food and beverage product introductions increased by 62 percent from 2013 to 2017. Soyfood choices range from soymilk and canned soybeans to edamame (fresh green soybeans) and TSP (Textured Soy Protein, also called TVP or Vegetable Protein). All these options offer convenient, economical ways to ease into plant-based eating. Not only does soy offer a variety of entrée options, it also can be incorporated into everything from soymilk maple lattes to creamy salad dressings, robust dips, soynut snacks, and chocolaty desserts.
Traditionally, tofu and tempeh have provided versatile, high-quality protein in Asian cuisine. In North America, tempeh consumption is expected to experience a significant increase as more health-conscious consumers discover how well its nutty flavor and firm texture work in everything from sandwiches to stir fry dishes. One serving of tempeh can provide 20 grams of protein and 9 grams of dietary fiber.
3. Soy is a star in the rise of meat alternatives. Not only is soy a meat alternative for those who choose to limit their meat consumption, it’s also a complement to meat. For example, to cut down on the amount of ground beef in your favorite recipes without sacrificing flavor or texture, try using a half-and-half mixture of ground beef and TSP. Shelf-stable TSP granules are a fiber-rich, zero-fat food that offers approximately 11 grams of soy protein per ¼ cup serving. Or, use TSP in your favorite chili and pasta sauce recipes.
In addition to the rise of tempeh (fermented soybean cake, popular in Indonesian cuisine), tofu is gaining popularity. The global tofu market is expected to reach $24 billion by 2022. An increase in tofu sales in the U.S. also is expected, because of more consumers seeking meat alternatives.
Visit The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com for tofu recipes such as Easy Stuffed Shells with pasta sauce. The shells are filled with a mixture of silken tofu, one egg, shredded cheese and chopped fresh parsley. One half-cup serving of tofu provides 11 grams of protein.
4. Soy appeals to protein-seekers and fitness-conscious consumers. Sloan says that more than half of the adults in the U.S. fit into a new active lifestyle demographic of those who exercise more than three days a week for at least 30 minutes. “The high protein trend will continue to fuel interest in high protein food, drinks and supplements for years to come,” she adds.
The Soyfoods Council shares suggestions for several high-energy snacks that provide a protein boost, including ¼ cup of soynuts (whole soybeans that have been soaked in water, then baked until brown), and ½ cup of edamame steamed in the pod. Both offer 11 grams of protein per serving.
Recipe ideas from The Soyfoods Council include a variety of global cuisine influences, including the Mediterranean-inspired Tempeh and Edamame Pizza. The pizza crust incorporates protein-rich soy flour, and the toppings include cubed tempeh that has been marinated in soy sauce, garlic and ginger and then stir-fried until it’s crispy. The other toppings on the pizza are a mix of edamame, green olives, green peppers, mushrooms and shredded cheeses.
Visit www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com for complete recipes, nutrition details, updates on the latest research, and tips for cooking with soy.
About The Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans.
About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries. In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.