Soybean planting for 2004-05 is expected to reach the record level of 30.1 million hectares, up from last year's 29.7 million hectares because farmers are expecting strong prices to continue, the US department of agriculture said this week.
"With relatively high soybean prices heading into planting season, prospects appear good for increased soybean planting in 2004," added the USDA.
Companies supplying soy derived ingredients are enjoying a buoyant market as consumer demand for soy-based products keeps on rising in parallel to an increased awareness of the potential health benefits that soybeans, and their derivatives, can hold.
Market analysts The Freedonia group predict that by 2007 US demand for soy products will rise by nearly five per cent each year to $8.5 billion.
This demand has already triggered the launch of a number of new soy ingredients onto the marketplace. ADM recently unveiled Novasoy whole bean powder and Cargill Health & Food Technologies has introduced a soy isoflavone ingredient - AdvantaSoy Compress - developed specifically for the dietary supplement industry.
Across the pond in Europe, soyfood sales are soaring with consumption of soya-based drinks and desserts up by over 20 per cent in 2002, valued at €1.3 billion ($1.6mn), say authors Prosoy.