WISHH Perspectives

WISHH Cultivates Latin American Food Company Innovation with Soy

Latin American food companies continue to count on ASA/WISHH for innovation in new product development as well as introductions to U.S. soy suppliers. Of the companies WISHH provided soy functionality expertise to in the last 3 months:

  • 40% have requested additional in-depth product formulation training for their product innovation staff.
  • 30% requested and received WISHH information to introduce them to U.S. soy suppliers and/or distributors in the region.
  • first-time company recipient of a WISHH technical consultation requested meeting to identify opportunities for collaboration. The firm is one of the largest cured meat processors in the region with annual sales exceeding US$100 million.

Central and South American food and beverage manufacturers are actively working with soy to respond consumers’ keen desire to get more plant-based protein into their diets. As a result, soy is the fastest growing protein ingredient in four key food categories.  According to Innova Market Insights, from 2016 to 2020, soy protein ingredient use in meat and dairy alternatives, snack foods, and the baked goods categories showed impressive growth ranging from 28% to 46%. 

WISHH is supporting the food/beverage industry’s growth and product innovation by providing the technical and formulation expertise to key companies in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. USDA Market Access Program as well as Michigan Soybean Committee checkoff resources are supporting WISHH’s work.  

Sergio Serna Saldivar, Ph.D. is an ASA/WISHH consultant with more than 25 years of experience on the use of soy protein as a food ingredient in the region. A professor of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, reports that his recent technical consultations with eight of WISHH’s key accounts.  “In my opinion the best way to increase the utilization of soybean products and proteins in all Central American countries is first through the enrichment or fortification of cereal-based products such as wheat and maize processed products.

“However, this round of consulting meetings (with WISHH key accounts) clearly indicated to me that the industry is seeking novel products in other groups of foods. There is lots of interest in analogs of milk, cheeses, meats, whole egg solids and egg white solids (egg albumin). I have (also) seen lots of interest in producing beverages with hydrolyzed soybean proteins and the production of dairy and meat analogs for vegetarians.” 

The use of soy as a protein has grown substantially from 2016-2020 along with the growth rate of new product launches among baked goods, dairy and meat alternatives, and snack foods. Source: Innova Market Insights

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