Buyers choose U.S. soy for superior quality, sustainability, reliability
In today’s market environment, it’s not enough just to have a good product. The most successful products and brands also have a solid understanding of their customers’ needs and know how to meet them better than the competition. With exports accounting for nearly 60 percent of U.S. soy demand, meeting the unique needs of your customers around the world is critical to the long-term success of U.S. soybean farmers.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) launched nearly 11 years ago as a partnership of U.S. soy organizations to represent farmers and the U.S. soy industry in international markets. USSEC has found that many foreign buyers prefer U.S. soy due to various attributes, including superior quality, sustainability and reliability.
USSEC developed a marketing platform to demonstrate the U.S. Soy Advantage and to capitalize on the preference for U.S. soy. Today, USSEC is promoting the U.S. Soy Advantage through a website and other strategic marketing materials, and through interactions with key customers around the world. Those efforts are paying off. More and more customers around the world are buying U.S. soy because it reliably and consistently delivers a high-quality nutritional bundle and performance advantages for customers.
Reliable, high-quality nutrient profile
Buyers around the world view the U.S. soy industry as a leader in research, development and technology, leading to better products and more value for end users. Extensive global research supports that U.S. soy and soybean meal products contain more nutrients than soybean meal of other origins, including a superior amino acid content and amino acid profile.
“When we are buying U.S. soy, we are looking for better yield for the end product,” says Arslan Sinno, chairman and president of ZM Vegetable Oils Industries based in Lebanon. “Whatever the others try, they don’t reach that level of technology where you can get the high level of protein that you get out of American soybeans.”
Meeting sustainability demands
Buyers are not only looking for a superior nutrient profile, they are also looking to meet the sustainability demands of their customers.
“Sustainability is very important when we make our purchasing decisions,” says Fares Hammoudeh, a business leader with the Hammoudeh Group based in Jordan. “U.S. soy has higher sustainability when compared to other products.”
The U.S. soy industry launched the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) in 2013 to demonstrate the sustainability of U.S. soy and ensure market access. International customers are increasingly buying soy certified in compliance with the SSAP to help meet their sustainability needs. The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) also recognized the sustainability of U.S. soy earlier this year when it approved the SSAP as part of its soy sourcing guidelines.
Customers of U.S. soy not only need a quality product with a superior nutrient profile, they need a consistent supply. The U.S. soy industry is unmatched when it comes to delivering a consistent, reliable supply of soybeans.
“American farmers are the most efficient farmers in terms of yield, supply chain, logistics. They are able to control the whole value chain from the farm to the export,” says Neoh Soon-Bin, Ph.D., managing director of an integrated grain, feed, oilseed and oil-processing company based in Malaysia.
The U.S. soybean industry faces stiff competition from South America, especially Brazil and Argentina. USDA projects Brazil, the world’s largest soybean exporter, will increase shipments between 2016/17 and 2025/26 by 35 percent to 76.4 million tons. Soybean imports from the U.S., the next largest exporter, are expected to grow 6 percent to reach 52.4 million tons during the same period. However, major challenges including poor infrastructure and labor stoppages could limit the growth of soybean exports in Brazil and Argentina, creating opportunities for the U.S. soybean industry.
“In South America we see a lot of strikes, so your vessel can wait three weeks or even a month,” says Manef Lakhghar, trading director with Carthage Grains based in Tunisia. “We are trying to put the premium on all of these aspects to try to put higher market share on U.S. soybeans for our program.”
USSEC and the U.S. soy industry provide support and technical assistance to customers around the world, which also leads to a performance advantage. Areas of technical expertise include: feed milling; poultry, aquaculture and livestock production; oil processing; and soy foods. Other local industry support includes downstream product marketing, industry seminars and conferences, risk management training and providing localized programs to help reduce trade barriers.
The soy checkoff is encouraged by the success of USSEC efforts to promote the U.S. Soy Advantage with international buyers and is now working to define and promote the U.S. Soy Advantage for domestic customers, influencers and markets.