What Are Soybeans Used for?

Soybeans are used in a wide variety of foods for humans and animals, as well as for industrial and consumer products such as building materials, lubricants, and other household items. Learn what soy is used for and its many applications across a variety of American industries.

Uses for Soybean Meal

Animal Feed

Poultry and livestock feed make up 97% of soybean meal used in the U.S. U.S. soybean meal is a vital component of feed, providing protein, and nutrient requirements for animal diets.


The other 3% of soybean meal used in the U.S. is in food products like protein alternatives and soy milk. People who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy may consume soy food products for this reason. Soy protein is a way for flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans to get their recommended daily protein.

Soy also appears in products like:

Uses for Soybean Oil


Oil used for food accounts for 61% of soybean oil used in the U.S.

This oil can be used:

Industrial Uses

Soybean oil used for industrial purposes accounts for 8% of soybean oil used in the U.S. This oil is converted into products like paints, plastics and cleaners.


Biodiesel makes up 31% of soybean oil used in the U.S. Biodiesel is a renewable substitute for petroleum diesel made from soybean oil. The fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases energy efficiency and provides a 13% price support for soybeans.

Want to learn more about the many uses for soybeans? See soy-based recipes or explore more soy-based products in our Soy Ingredient Index.