Spilling the beans on the US soy industry

From its origins in ancient China as a domestic crop, to its eventual spread and use in cuisines all over world, ranging from miso paste, to tofu, and tempeh, the humble soybean now wears another hat – that of a sustainable protein source for the world’s changing nutritional needs. Timothy Loh, regional director of South East Asia and Oceania for the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC), shares with Food & Beverage Asia more on the soybean industry in the US, and how it can serve the demands of the ASEAN food and beverage industry.

To begin with,could you share with us more about the US soybean industry and how it has served South East Asia’s demand for this commodity thus far? How the soybean industry in SEA been affected by the demand for plant-based products and its sources, such as peas, nuts, chickpeas, etc?

Loh: South East Asia is anticipated to remain one of the world’s fastest growing regions in terms of consumption, fueled by a young workforce, an expanding middle class, and rising incomes which play a significant role in contributing to the region’s economic growth. These dynamics are driving an increased demand for high-quality protein sources, with soy products being a prime choice. Moreover, the shift towards plant-based dietary preferences further boosts the demand for soy-based products.

Soy is the US’ number one food and agricultural export and offers an affordable and sustainable source of nutrition to support the health and wellbeing of South East Asia’s growing population. The US soy industry has played a vital role in enhancing the region’s agricultural sector over the past few decades. This partnership with USSEC has involved the sharing of trade and technical knowledge, as well as expertise, aimed at supporting the growth of the region’s food, feed, and livestock industries. Moreover, USSEC has simultaneously promoted US soy as a trusted and sustainable source of nutrition.

Given the anticipated increase in demand for US soy in the region, the enduring commitment and longstanding partnership of US growers with South East Asia, marked by decades of investment and support in the region’s growth and prosperity, are poised to continue.

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