Around the World with U.S. Soy: Greater Europe

Brent Babb

Brent Babb

U.S. Soybean Export Council

This is part of a series of snapshots from around the world with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). U.S. Soy has a presence in key markets around the world, and this series aims to showcase the importance of U.S. Soy in these unique markets in 2018 and beyond. USSEC is a partnership of key stakeholders representing soybean producers, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agribusinesses and agricultural organizations that help to build a preference for U.S. soybeans and works to optimize the utilization and value of U.S. Soy in international markets by meeting the needs of our stakeholders and global customers.

Market snapshot:

  • The EU imported over 5.5 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. Soy last year. 
  • The EU is the world’s largest importer of soy meal. Last year, the region purchased 5.15 MMT of U.S. Soy.
  • This is a growing animal agriculture area.
  • The EU is a large market for sustainable soy, and 90 percent of U.S. Soy is sustainably produced.

The EU is home to 850 million people and includes 14 European countries that import U.S. soy: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The EU market has a distinct and strong consumer preference for premium soybeans and sustainable soy in particular. To meet these demands, the U.S. soy industry created the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), a system that verifies the sustainability performance of the U.S. soybean crop. The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation’s (FEFAC) Soy Sourcing Guidelines positively benchmarked the SSAP through the independent International Trade Centre’s (ITC) customized benchmark tool in 2016. Last year, more than two million tons of SSAP-certified soy was exported to the EU.

“The European consumer is very involved with sustainability,” says Henk Flipsen, Director NEVEDI Dutch Feed Industry Association. “[Here] we use commodities for feeding animals, and consumers see using sustainable soy [in feed] as the standard.”

With a growing pork and poultry industry, the EU has high standards for the soybean meal they import. The EU imported over 5.5 MMT of U.S. soy last year, with the Netherlands, Spain and Germany at the top of the list.1 Importers and consumers in the EU highly value product composition, consistency and sustainability, all which make U.S. soy stand out as a vital part of their supply chain.

“They very specifically make sure they keep their U.S. soybean meal for the baby chicks, as they want their most important part of their commercial flocks to be fed U.S. soybeans,” says Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director — EU. 

Several major feed companies in the region base feed values on country of production with U.S. soybean meal providing added value. This enhanced value comes from the exceptional compositional quality of U.S. soy, which has the ideal combination of digestible essential amino acid levels plus nutritional energy levels for animal agriculture. 

The ability to rely on innovation and quality as well as a consistent and reliable supply for a large market is top-of-mind for European customers. U.S. soy provides it all.