SOY VEY!

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From soy turkey to soy milk, food manufacturers seem to be able to make just about anything from soybeans these days. According to a report released last September by Mintel Consumer Intelligence, a market research firm with headquarters in Chicago, the soy-based food and beverage industry squeezed out $1.7 billion in sales in 2002, a dramatic increase from 1997, when inflation-adjusted sales totaled just $817 million. Spurring the growth is scientific evidence supporting the beneficial effects of soy in preventing cancer, stabilizing hormone levels in women and reducing cholesterol. Apparently gone are consumers' concerns over the taste of soy and its tendency to cause increased flatulence. Mintel forecasts that the market for soy-based food and drink will reach $3.3 billion a year by 2007.

GUYS LIKE IT TOO

New food product labels heavily promote the benefits of soy for women, but men are just as likely as women to partake in soy-based foods. In fact, men are even more likely than women to consume soy-based meat substitutes.

PERCENT OF AMERICANS WHO ARE FREQUENT OR OCCASIONAL CONSUMERS OF SELECT SOY-BASED PRODUCTS, BY GENDER:

MEN WOMEN
Meat substitutes 59% 55%
Tofu 49% 53%
Soy snacks 47% 51%
Soy milk 45% 47%
Soy energy bars 31% 35%
Soy cheese 23% 23%
Soy smoothies 14% 18%
Source: Mintel Consumer Intelligence
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