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Equinom transforming soy sector to deliver more nutritious non-GMO soy
Thursday, 18 July, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Kibbutz Givat Brenner
commodity to a value-added breed-for-purpose market. The company’s agroscience expertise and creative business model are revolutionising soy cultivation and commercialisation to deliver a portfolio of tastier, non-GMO (genetically-modified organism) soy with a higher nutritional profile.

Closing the gap
According to a recent US Soybean Export Council report, since 1986, overall soy yield has increased by almost 60 per cent. However, protein content has remained stagnant at about 35 per cent.

“In contrast, our bred soybean lines contain nearly 58 per cent protein, which is 50 per cent higher than the industry standard,” said Itay Dana, marketing director, Equinom, adding, “Traditional breeding practices have focussed mostly on high yield, but specialty traits are now the in-demand trend for food companies.”

Until now, non-GMO soy crops cultivated for ideal traits have been prone to yield inconsistencies, and have exposed farmers to seasonal failures beyond their control. These problems have been further compounded by limitations in seed variety, agricultural know-how and technological resources to ensure crop performance.

In addition, the lack of dialogue among the consumers – food companies – and their suppliers – traders, farmers and seed companies, has impeded progress along the supply chain.

“Despite the buzz surrounding high functionality of non-GMO soy and other legumes, grains and seeds, non-GMO soy is still in its infancy, making up only seven per cent of the total soy market,” stated Dana.

Using big data to optimise taste and texture
An Innova Market Insights consumer survey showed that one in five US consumers have eaten less meat over the past year. Meat substitutes accounted for 14 per cent of the global meat launches in the first nine months of 2018, up from six per cent in 2013.

Ensuring delicious flavour and appealing texture are two primary challenges in creating meat alternative products with soy protein.

“There is a pronounced gap between customer-demanded organoleptic qualities that produce the tasty, appealing, nutritious meat-alternative products that are taking over the market, and the low-value varieties and qualities currently produced,” said Sigal Meirovitch, head, protein development, Equinom, adding, “Consumers are seeking slaughter-free options but not at the expense of taste and texture."

Equinom’s computerised breeding technology is a game changer for food companies, driving market momentum with high-protein, tasty, plant-based products.

The company’s proprietary algorithm and breeding techniques map out precise genomic crop characteristics to be rendered into highly desirable attributes. The system breeds for protein load, taste, texture and nutritional composition targeted to priority soy applications, including soy milk, tofu, fermented natto, miso and soy protein isolates. Crops are produced within a strictly non-GMO environment, with no gene editing or manipulation.

Dynamic dialogue creates supply chain transparency
Equinom’s progressive business model bridges food ingredient companies and farmers – to boost cultivation of better for-you, non-GMO soy.

“We work directly with food and ingredient companies to capture their specific requirements, while demonstrating soy’s full potential and extensive flexibility, as proven in the vast line of soy seed germplasm that our company has generated from years of breeding,” stated Dana.

Equinom communicates closely with grain handlers, providing them direct access to its breed-for-purpose seed collection for sowing optimal seeds from its germplasm. This limitless seed bank meets food companies’ specific demands, while ensuring complete transparency throughout the soy supply chain. The Equinom platform also cultivates distinct, value-added specialty crops that can fetch higher prices than commodities.

“Equinom's high-resolution breeding programme is taking charge of this agri-business sector, ushering in a new, more profitable era — and food companies are already reaping the benefits,” Dana said.
 
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