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Marketing Soybeans

21st Century Markets for Australian Soybeans

Traditionally, the main market for Australian grown soybeans has been the crushing sector. Up until the late 1990’2 almost 50% of the crop was crushed for meal and oil and a further 25% went into full fat meal for intensive livestock. The human consumption market only accounted for around 25-30% and the remaining 5% was retained for planting seed. There were little or no exports.

In the last decade this has changed, with the crush and full fat sectors declining, an increasing domestic consumption of edible beans and an expansion of export markets. This shift has been driven by higher returns from the culinary market s facilitated by the availability of new varieties targeted at the higher quality these markets require.

The demand for edible soybeans is underpinned by growth in western diets for healthier foods and the recognition of soybeans ability to provide these health benefits. This has seen soybeans move into the mainstream market as a foodstuff and an ingredient in a variety of foods. Health conscious consumers are choosing soy milk, soy based drinks and soy dairy free products as the basis for many common daily food replacements. In addition many nutrition and dietary organisations are linking soy with a number of health benefits including heart disease reduction.

There is also a growing demand from Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia, for Australian edible soybeans. Japan alone imports almost half a million tonnes of tofu grade soybeans each year. At present the US and Canada are the major suppliers to these markets. However,  Australian soybeans have been well positioned as a premium product at the top end of the market. This export opportunity is based on Australia’s reputation for high quality, identity preservation, non-GM and an outstanding food safety record. In particular the expansion of GM elsewhere in the world has opened a niche human consumption market for Australian soybeans.  

Soybean Marketing Guide
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Updated:  31 Jan 2015