What’s new about soy protein?
More than you may realize.
So much, in fact, that when compared with the soy of old, the difference is striking. The R&D annals of many food manufacturers contain passages on the old soy-enhanced products — products that were developed, marketed and then ran their course, most likely without much fanfare. Let’s be honest: The first generation of soy-enhanced products was not something most marketers wanted to promote.
Today, the story’s changed.
Today’s soy protein basks under the glow of never-ending news stories touting its latest health benefit. Soy protein lowers the fat in traditional items while still leaving in the taste. Most importantly, consumers increasingly want more of today’s soy protein in familiar great-tasting food products.
Just try to market a product that doesn’t taste good. You might fool some of the some of the time, but in the end it all comes down to taste.
By its nature, soy protein takes on the flavor of the product to which it is added. Skeptical? Just the 11,000 students who ate soy-enhanced foods in a nationwide school lunch program. Two-thirds said they would eat a soy-enhanced food again, and school foodservice directors in a 1996 Gallup survey said that students’ preference for soy -enhanced foods over traditional products was the top reason they use soy.
It’s not happenstance that today’s soy-enhanced products taste better. Improved taste and more consistent quality are by design. Moisture and flavor retention, emulsification and texture enhancement – among many other benefits of soy protein – provide for cost-effective and consistent preparation and production.
Taste is great, but why try soy-enhanced foods when you can eat something else?
To enjoy better health.
There’s no denying the deluge of healthrelated stories as the media and even corporate wellness programs seek to satisfy consumers’ increasing appetite for information on how to live better and longer.
Beyond its low-fat, low-cholesterol and high-fiber characteristics, clinical research indicates that regular consumption of soy protein may support better help. Soy protein contains phytochemicals, such as isoflavones, that can help keep cells healthier by acting as antioxidants. It also contains chains of amino acids, or peptides. According to one major study, The Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Soy Protein Intake on Serum Lipids by Dr. James Anderson, consistent soy protein consumption is directly linked with lowering levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides.
For the 30 million lactose-intolerant Americans (75 percent of all African Americans and Native Americans and 90 percent of Asian-Americans), soy protein is a viable alternative and can be used to develop lactose-free food products, especially in dairy applications.
Soy protein can also act as a substitute for peanut proteins for those children and adults who suffer from peanut allergies. According to Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, one in every 200 children and thousands of adults suffer from peanut allergies.
At the same time that medical concerns are simulating the demand for soy, the vegetarian market is on the rise. Industry analysts estimate the number of vegetarians in the U.S. to total 15 million, a figure that has more than doubled during the last decade. Soy protein is used in a variety of food applications that help meet the culinary demands of vegetarians.
Soy-enhanced products taste great, offer exceptional functionality and provide health benefits, too. How will soy protein affect your bottom line?
As a relatively inexpensive source of protein, soy is a cost-effective way to lower fat content in traditional products while still providing an excellent source of protein. According to average industry costs, incorporating soy protein into lean ground beef or chicken (ratio of 70 parts meat to 30 parts soy) decreases the cost per pound by 24 percent on average (see Figure 1 ). Further cost savings are shown with the heavily used dairy-based protein, casein. The average cost of casein is approximately $2.50 per pound. Current average cost of isolated soy protein, an alternative to casein, is $1.58 per pound. This is almost a 40 percent savings per pound (see Figure 2).
Soy protein helps to provide foods that meet a variety of tastes – as an ingredient in everything from breaded chicken to ice cream. Soy protein breeds product innovations and line extensions.
Now is a good time to give soy a try!