Soy is a versatile plant-based food that is used in a variety of applications. It has been a staple of Asia’s cuisine for centuries and is becoming increasingly popular in other countries. From traditional dishes to modern cuisine innovations, soy has become an essential part of the global food chain. As such, it is no surprise that certain countries consume more soy than others.
So, if you’re curious about which cultures are fueling global soy use, here are the top seven countries that consume the most soy.
With a population of around 1.4 billion, it’s not surprising that China consumes the most soy in the world. The country produces and consumes around 65% of all Soybeans worldwide, with an estimated amount imported at 264,000 metric tons during the marketing year 2022/2023. This is due to the great demand for soy-based foods, such as tofu and soy milk, in the Chinese diet.
In addition to increasing consumption of these traditional products, China has also been increasingly embracing plant-based proteins. The trend has led to a boom in meat substitutes like Beyond Meat and Omnipork, which means China’s soy consumption will continue to increase in the coming years.
- United States of America
The US is yet another top country regarding soy consumption since it’s an important part of its citizens’ diet. It is estimated to consume around 31.3 million metric tons of soybean annually – making it one of the highest users in the world. That is primarily due to the high demand for plant-based proteins from vegan and non-vegan populations.
For Instance, major food companies use soybeans in various processed foods like veggie burgers and energy bars which are popular amongst Americans. Furthermore, they are also utilized for biofuel production and even livestock feed, thus boosting the demand and consumption of soybeans in the US.
Brazil has over 200 million people who rely heavily on soy products for their daily nutrition needs. For example, soy makes tofu, tempeh, and other plant-based proteins. On the other hand, soybean oil is also widely used for cooking, promoting a healthier lifestyle for the population. Furthermore, Brazil is also one of the top exporters of soybeans in the world and a major player in the global soybean trade, which makes it an important hub for this lucrative commodity.
Soy is an essential source of nutrition for many people in Argentina, and it forms a significant part of their meals. In fact, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Argentina produced 43.5 million metric tons of soybeans during the 2021/2022 marketing year. Nonetheless, soybeans are used in various Argentine dishes such as empanadas, tamales, and other savory snacks. They can also make vegetable oils, margarine, and other food products. Furthermore, soy is often utilized as a fertilizer to feed livestock, providing essential nutrients for both people and animals alike.
India is among the top countries that consume the most soy without further processing. A large portion of India’s soy consumption goes to producing edible oil, which is used extensively in Indian cuisine and food preparation. Soybeans are also used to make soymilk, tofu, tempeh, and other vegan substitutes for dairy products, as well as many traditional dishes like chutneys, pickles, and curries.
Additionally, livestock farmers in India use soy meal for feeding their animals due to its high protein content. And finally, the industrial sector uses soy derivatives for various purposes, such as cosmetics and biodiesel production.
Soy consumption has a long history in Japan, dating back to ancient times as an ingredient in traditional dishes. In modern-day, soy is an important dietary component, and you can find it in every meal throughout the country. For example, soybeans and products made from them, such as tofu and miso, are an important part of the Japanese diet. You can add soy to soups, stews, stir-fries, sauces, salads, and desserts.
Additionally, soy serves as a meat or seafood substitute in dishes like vegetarian sushi rolls. As a result of its wide use, soy is likely to continue being a staple of the Japanese diet for many years.
In Russia, Soybean-based products make up a large part of the country’s diet. Its people have traditionally used soy as a source of protein and other vital nutrients. Over time, this has increased the demand for soy products in Russia. In the country, its citizens use soy for cooking, with traditional dishes such as solyanka, blini, and syrniki, being popular dishes. Soy is also used to make cheese, margarine, and other bakery products.
Soybeans are a valuable source of nutrition and have become increasingly popular in many countries worldwide. Each country uses soy in different ways to suit its cuisine and culture. And with the rising health concerns and an ever-growing population, more people continue to incorporate plant-based foods into their diets. Therefore, soy will continue to be a staple in many diets around the world, and more countries will increase their soy intake even further in the coming years.