3 Farmer-led Efforts To Promote Soy-based Nutrition

April 29, 2024

April is National Soy Foods Month. And while most soybeans are used for biofuels, livestock feed and industrial and commercial applications, soy also plays a significant role in human nutrition — both in the U.S. and around the world.

Increased consumer focus on wellness benefits

In recent years, we have witnessed a significant consumer behavioral shift toward increased focus on health and wellness benefits. In fact, a 2024 study published by McKinsey & Company indicated that the global wellness market is currently valued at $1.8 trillion. The U.S. market alone accounts for $480 billion and is growing at an annual rate of 5 to 10 percent.

The South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council sees this as a promising opportunity, considering soybeans' well-documented nutritional value. Continued research and promotion efforts to understand the wellness benefits found in soybeans and position soy as a key player in human nutrition will help support increased domestic and global demand.

Three critical farmer-led efforts to promote soy-based nutrition

Farmers are leading the way in promoting the virtues of soy-based nutrition. Three primary ways this plays out on a global scale are through the work of Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI) Global and World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH); locally, farmers have found great success in accomplishing this objective through the Hungry for Truth initiative.

Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI) Global

Through their checkoff, soybean farmers help fund Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI) Global and its efforts to support research on priority health outcomes. Notable peer-reviewed studies associated with SNI Global include the role of soy-based proteins in plant-based diets, soybean oil's effects on cholesterol levels and the impact of soy consumption and skin health.

SNI Global was founded by the farmer-led United Soybean Board (USB) in 2004. Its day-to-day work is guided by a board comprised of leaders within the food and agricultural industries, in addition to a scientific advisory board. Consumers can access a wide array of resources on the SNI Global website to learn more about the benefits of soy, including videos, articles and fact sheets. SNI Global also works closely with health and nutrition influencers to get important information on the benefits of soy in human nutrition into the hands of consumers.

World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH)

Another important program led by soybean farmers is the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH). The American Soybean Association founded WISHH in 2000 to support developing countries around the world in their quest to address food insecurity and satisfy the nutritional needs of a growing population.

WISHH has adopted a unique, innovative strategy of working directly with local entrepreneurs and business owners in emerging markets to serve as a catalyst in advancing soy-based nutrition. This approach supports local economies and increases food security in those regions while boosting demand for soybeans grown in the U.S. WISHH also partners with the checkoff-founded U.S. Soybean Export Council to build strong working relationships and facilitate trade with these emerging markets.

Hungry for Truth

Here in South Dakota, soybean farmers also support soy-based nutrition education and promotion through the Hungry for Truth program. Consumers can find fun, healthy recipes using soy-based products on the Hungry for Truth website and via social media. The initiative also engages popular online influencers and farmer voices to set the record straight regarding food safety concerns and demonstrate the many ways farmers bring a safe, responsibly grown product to the market.

In addition, Hungry for Truth hosts its popular Farm to Fork event each year to bring farmers, consumers and public officials together to have meaningful conversations about where our food comes from and highlight the benefits of soy in human nutrition.

Learn more about promoting soy in human nutrition

To stay current on ways farmers are advancing the merits of soy in human nutrition, talk to your South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council district director or visit sdsoybean.org.