With more consumer attention focused on food products that offer quality ingredients, nutrition content, and high-quality plant proteins, soyfoods are gaining prominence, as many new products attest.

“Plant products should be sold and positioned on their major strengths: taste, culinary curiosity, health and often lower-cost taste,” says A. Elizabeth Sloan, President of Sloan Trends. The Escondido, California-based firm tracks consumer food and beverage trends and behaviors, as well as health and nutrition attitudes, eating patterns, and emerging medical markets. The U.S. Soybean Export Council taps into Sloan’s expertise for an analysis of current trends creating a demand for U.S.-grown soybeans. This is Part Two of a two-part report on how global trends are increasing the demand for soyfoods.

Soyfoods Enjoy a Unique Identity Among Plant Based Products

“Plant products should stop calling themselves substitutes for meat and dairy. After cost, taste is the main reason Millennials buy meat replacements,” Sloan says. Plant-based eating offers a wide range of consumer choices as well as new product opportunities, including dairy and meat alternatives featuring soy.  As a high quality plant protein, traditional soy product choices include soymilk, tofu, tempeh, soy flour and Textured Soy Protein (TSP).  Emerging opportunities include new dairy-free products. Sloan says they have enjoyed a 17 percent average annual growth rate between 2013 and 2017, with soy being the top ingredient for plant-based dairy alternative drinks.[1]

Emerging Market Niches for U.S.-Grown Soybean Products

In the dairy case, new global food and drink introductions include nondairy cheese that incorporates soy as an ingredient. Worldwide, frozen desserts formulated with soy stand out among new dessert introductions as well.[2]  According to Nielsen research based on retail sales data, other growing niche markets for dairy alternatives include products such as plant based coffee creamers, a category that grew at a 135 percent rate from 2017 to 2018[3].

[1]Innova Marketing Insights 2019, New Product Database, March.

[2]Innova Market Insights, 2019. New Products Database. March

[3]Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight, 52 weeks ended April 7, 2018.