Look in the shopping cart or at the restaurant plate of today’s consumers. You’re likely to find more plant-based, protein-rich foods that promote health and make eating an experience. When consumers learn those foods fit their definition of sustainable production, even better.

While this is a shift from the meat-and-potatoes generation, soy is still part of the food equation. In fact, today’s food trends may open new doors for soybeans, if farmers play their cards right. “Clean eating with all natural, recognizable ingredients and accountability of farmers is becoming more important. Soy is a star among the many available ingredients,” says Linda Funk, executive director, The Soyfoods Council. “Soy is a simple ingredient that fits into all of today’s trends, and farmers can capitalize on that by talking about their sustainability.”

The 2018 International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation Food & Health Survey released in May shows taste and price remain key drivers for consumer purchases. Familiarity (a new survey addition) is also significant, outpacing healthfulness, convenience and sustainability. “One of the driving consumer trends is heightened awareness and demand for quality protein particularly at breakfast and snacks.

This is reinforced by the desire for self-care. Consumers are looking to protein to power and energize their day,” says Pam Smith, R.D.N, nutritionist and industry culinary consultant. Smith provides menu innovation and insight for such groups as The Culinary Institute of America, Disney and Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

“The restaurant industry is innovating around menu items that provide quality, healthful plant-based proteins, creating dishes that are craveable, delicious and nutritious,” she says. “Giving food global flavors and adventure adds a compelling reason to try a new dish.”

CLICK to continue reading on pages 6-8 of the July issue of Illinois Field & Bean magazine.

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About the Author: Barb Baylor Anderson

Barb Baylor Anderson specializes in writing and public relations, and has assisted clients with branding, strategy development, media relations, audio/visual communications, event planning and economic analysis. She is a contributing writer to several publications, and coordinates marketing communications projects for trade associations and other non-profits, small business and agricultural companies.