SCHAUMBURG, IL May 29, 2009 – According to Soyfoods: The U.S. Market 2009, which has just been released by Soyatech, LLC and SPINS, Inc., retail sales of soyfoods products have surpassed the $4 billion mark for the first time in history.

The report, which examines soyfoods sales and industry trends during 2008, points out that the U.S. market for soyfoods has continued to develop despite the overall economic downturn. The study’s authors note that consumer awareness of the health benefits associated with soy and its expanded presence in multiple distribution channels are leading factors explaining soyfoods’ continued success.

Interestingly, the report cites data confirming that the sales growth of soy is highest in a channel other than conventional supermarkets or natural retailers. Sales growth of 1.8% in supermarkets and natural food stores was outpaced by the “other channels” category of retail outlets for soyfoods, including Wal-Mart, club stores and foodservice operations, where sales grew by 3%.

The leading categories driving this growth include soymilk, meat alternatives, tofu and snack bars.  Refrigerated soy-based entrées and sushi, tracked for the first time this year, also fared well and debuted in the top 25 largest soyfoods categories, with $11.5 million in sales.

Soyfoods: The U.S. Market 2009, the eighth report produced as a collaborative effort between by Soyatech and SPINS, provides detailed information on the U.S. market by category, sub-category, brand and distribution channel.

The report covers topics such as:

•    opportunities for further growth in this healthful food sector
•    major players impacting the marketplace and driving growth and
•    future developments in soyfoods.

“With soyfoods now a $4 billion industry, Soyatech and SPINS anticipate that opportunities for innovation will enable the industry to continue to grow,” said Philippe de Lapérouse, director of Soyatech’s Global Food and Agribusiness Practice.

While this trend may be cause for optimism we still have a long way to go to make a dent in the consumer spending on beef which was $74.6 billion in 2007 and has grown $25.5 billion since 1999.

The problems with beef agribusiness have been well documented – water use, waste production, hormone and antibiotic additives and in some cases, animal cruelty.

What we don’t know about soyfoods is how much genetically modified material is in the food products we’re consuming or where the soybeans are grown.  Since there’s no requirement for consumer protection on the label, we’re on our own if we want sustainably raised beef or soy.