Soyfoods are one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry with retail sales growing 16.8 per cent in 2001 to reach US$ 3.2 billion (€3.4bn), according to a new study.
The study, "Soyfoods: The US Market 2002," showed that category growth is being driven by strong increases in sales of soymilk, energy bars, meat alternatives and cold cereal products containing soy.
Over the past few years, innovation in soyfoods has seen a wide range of new products based on soy ingredients being targeted at the US consumer trend for convenience, health and good taste, said the report.
It claims that while still a valuable "health food", soyfoods have clearly moved into the mainstream market during the past few years. The study, published jointly by SPINS and Soyatech, showed sales of soy-based foods grew 26.8 per cent in mainstream supermarkets, compared to just 11.8 per cent in natural product supermarkets and only 5.5 per cent in all other natural food stores.
Growth in mainstream markets has been driven by the entry of big food companies into the market and the resultant increase in advertising and new product development. In addition, most supermarkets now have natural food "sets" where a range of soy products are now available.
In the mainstream market, overall soymilk sales increased 45.8 per cent in 2001, while sales of refrigerated soymilk products continued a 3 year trend of over 100 per cent increases in sales. In total, soymilk sales reached $550 million this past year and are projected to reach $1 billion in the next 3 to 5 years.
Meat alternatives are also continuing to grow sharply, with an overall growth in 2001 of 14.5 per cent to reach $440.3 million in retail sales. As with soymilk, sales in mainstream markets are growing much faster than those in natural product stores.
The study also analyses new product trends by examining the number of soy-based products in retail channels over the past 3 years, and lists the top regional markets for soyfoods based on $ per household and total regional sales. It reveals the top 25 soy brands and how sales have shifted between distribution channels for each soyfood subcategory.