The United Soybean Board (USB), a farmer-led organization that oversees soybean investments, conducted an online survey of 1000 people it says was consistent with the national population. The survey was part of a USB initiative to create soy oils to help the food industry manufacture healthier products.
Through the initiative called Qualisoy, the soybean industry is looking to create functional soy ingredients with lower trans fat and saturated fat content, and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.If the results accurately reflect American attitudes and trends, the survey spells good news for the functional foods industry as consumers are look for healthy ingredients.
As part of the 13th Annual Consumer Attitudes about Nutrition National Study, 87 percent of consumers reported being at least somewhat concerned about nutritional content of the foods they eat and three-quarters said they have changed their eating habits in the past three to five years due to health concerns.
An increasing number of respondents also recognize soy foods and beverages as healthy. Perception of soy's healthfulness jumped from 67 percent in 1998 to 82 percent in 2006. Though soy may not yet be a staple in diets it makes a monthly appearance for many. Thirty percent of participants indicated they consume soyfoods once a month or more. Over half have tried soy foods or beverages in restaurants and over one-third say they would order soy products if they could find them on the menu.
Soy foods, beverages and oils offer three options for consumers looking to increase their intake of heart healthy foods, according to USB director of soyfoods and soybean oil programs Steve Poole.