Monday, March 18, 2019


Mumbai hosts conference on entrepreneurship devpt in soy food processing
Monday, 09 July, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Mumbai hosted a conference on entrepreneurship development in soy food processing recently. It was jointly organised by the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Association of Food Scientist and Technologists (India) [AFST(I)] and involved various stakeholders from the industry, government and academia, agriculture policy experts, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSSAI, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, financial institutions, etc. P Muthumaran, director, Western and Southern Region, FSSAI, was the chief guest.

Speaking on the soy food business potential in India and the role it can play in the health and nutritional security of India, Ratan Sharma of USSEC stated that soybean was one of the very few plants those provide a high quality protein with minimum saturated fat.

“Soybean helps people feel better and live longer with an enhanced quality of life. It contains all the three macronutrients required for good nutrition, as well as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Soybean protein provides all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for human health,” he added.

“The protein in just 250g soybean is equivalent to that in three litre milk, 1kg mutton or 24 eggs. In addition to being a rich source of nutrients, soybean has a number of phytochemicals (isoflavones), which offer health benefits along with soy protein,” Sharma said.

“Soy protein and isoflavones together contribute to a number of health benefits, such as cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, keeping the heart healthy, combating osteoporosis and menopause regulation. Being low in glycaemic index (GI), soy plays a very important role in maintaining the low sugar levels in diabetics,” he added.

Sharma explained the nutritional quality of the soy oil from the United States. Besides the regular nutritious soy oil, the US has developed high-oleic soy oil. High-oleic soy oil is being very popular as the industry-preferred substitute for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and are used in all manners of processed foods, especially snack foods, for deep-frying.

High-oleic soy oil is free from trans-fats as well as lower in saturated fat, and contains three times more beneficial monounsaturated fatty acid compared to conventional soy oil.

“The US Food and Drug Administration- (US FDA) approved Bunge North America’s petition for a qualified health claim linking soybean oil consumption to reduced risk of heart disease,” stated Sharma.

Soybean oil is the US’ most commonly-used ingredient, and the top dietary source of polyunsaturated fats. Soy oil is the second-largest edible oil used in India. Soybean oil is considered heart-healthy oil as it is cholesterol-free and low in saturated fatty acids – it contains 61 per cent poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).

Two fat components essential for health and wellbeing, linoleic and linolenic acids, are also found in the right proportions in soybean oil. It is also a good source of Vitamin E.

Like fish oils, soybean oil contains Omega-3, known to be protective against heart disease and cancer.

Sharma stated, “US soy oil is known for its nutritional superiority in comparison with the soy oils from other origins.”

Discussing the soy food business opportunities in India, he clearly mentioned that raw material played a major role in producing a quality product, delivering proper nutrients and making a tasty product.

Food-specialty soybeans are not grown in India, limiting the growth of the soy food sector in the lack of  desired-quality product with limited value addition possibilities.

Sharma highly recommended the food specialty soybeans from the United States, which produces an excellent quality soy food with much better acceptability of the end product and excellent value addition possibility when compare with the Indian soybeans.

Adam Branson, senior attaché of agriculture affairs, Foreign Agriculture Services, USDA, United States Consulate General, Mumbai, explained that a huge opportunity existed for the agriculture product trade between India and the United States.

He added, “Agriculture is one of the top economic sectors of the United States, and we look at India as a great partner to us for the agri business and the related trade.”

Branson also discussed that the bilateral trade relations between the US and India, environmentally sustainable production of soybeans, about agricultural commodities and other areas of US agriculture and agri products where both the countries can work together.

G Chandrasekhar, senior agriculture policy and trade expert, spoke about addressing the nutritional challenges and creating employment through soy food business. He replied to a query on various aspects of the food and agriculture policies of the Government of India.

Prabodh Halde, head, regulatory affairs, Marico, and president, AFST(I), covered the regulatory norms on various food products, processing, labelling, etc.

B V Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, talked about the supply and demand of the edible oils in India, adding that India had a great potential of using soybean oil. The consumption of soy oil is increasing because of its nutritional superiority to other edible oils.

Indranil Chatterjee from DuPont Nutrition presented about the protein-rich foods and beverages made by using soy protein isolates and concentrates.

Uday Annapure discussed about the scope and benefits of extrusion technology in the Indian food processing sector and about the phenomenal growth in this segment, especially soy nuggets (soy bari), which are very popular in India.

Speaking on the nutritional and functional properties of soybean oil, Meena Mehta interpreted about the nutritional facts of soybean oil and highlighted its nutritional and functional properties.

Some of the soy food start-ups shared their experience and the achievements in the soy food processing sector. Here, it is very important to note that there are over 2,000 soy food processing industries in India. This segment is growing at a rate of 12 per cent on an annual basis.

Recently, soy food processing has been immersed as a very good source of creating the employment opportunities on a small, medium and large scale.

India is the fifth-largest producer of soybean, but in the lack of awareness on its nutrition and the proper processing technologies, this product is not getting the acceptance in the Indian diet.

Although the soy food processing sector is growing at a rapid rate of 12 per cent annually, it still needs to develop at a pace to bridge the protein gap of the country and soy processing industries should be integrated to the nutrition intervention programme for an easy access of the soy food products at the local as well as regional level.

This would be the best way to provide the low-cost nutrition to the masses and creating employment opportunities through soy food processing on a small, medium and large scale.

This programme was attended by a large number of people from the soy food industry, trade associations, nutrition professionals, scientists and professionals from the multinational companies from all over the country.

The USSEC is a dynamic partnership of key stakeholders representing US soybean producers, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agri-businesses and agricultural organisations.

Through a global network of international offices and strong support in the United States, USSEC provides trade and technical services as well as market access support in order to build a preference for US soy and soybean products.
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