Happy New Year. No Soy to the World!

Will the soy industry toast its success this holiday season with Soy Nogs?   Perhaps, but the atmosphere won’t be wildly celebratory.

Soy has been losing its luster in the marketplace since 2009.   Seems consumers are just nog so much into soy!    While the data for 2011 are not yet in, advance buzz has it that soy milk sales are declining while tofu and soy infant formula have managed only lackluster growth.   As for sales of isoflavones and other soy supplements, they’ve been plummeting, with a 26 percent drop in 2009, a 15 percent drop in 2010, and no signs of a turnaround anytime soon.    That’s particularly significant, given the overall robust growth of the U.S. supplement market.

What’s to blame?   People like you and me, according to the industry spokespeople quoted in the newsletters and reports issued from www.NutraIngredients.com and www.FoodNavigator-usa.com.

To wit:

  • “Soy supplement sales have been declining for some time,” says Kerry Watson, manager at SPINS, an industry reporting and consulting service.  “I think in general consumers are confused about whether soy and good or bad for them.  There are concerns amongst consumers regarding the possible affects soy may have on hormones in the body.”

  • “We include negative publicity and consumer confusion among the trends that have been contributing to flatter soyfoods/supplements sales in the past few years,”  says Sarah Day LeVesque, an analyst at Soyatech, a research and consultancy firm

  • “Non-organic soy runs the risk of being genetically modified,” says Watson, “and consumers have no way to know whether a product does or doesn’t contain GMO unless they choose to state that information on the label.”

  • David Browne, a senior analyst for Mintel, another market research firm also blames “negative publicity surrounding soy’s impact on hormones and the GMO factor. . .” and adds “We’re seeing some companies actively promote the fact that they don’t use soy.”

  • All the negative publicity is “frustrating” says Laurent Leduc, vice president at Frutarom, a leading flavor and fragrance company.    However,  he thinks “the negative press on soy is down and we are now starting to see a positive trend with new studies on safety and bone health.”

Sounds to me like the decade-long campaign by the Weston A. Price Foundation is finally paying off.  Our warnings have helped consumers recognize marketing hype, question the value of  industry-sponsored  studies,  decide “better safe than sorry” in the face of confusing, contradictory messages, and perceive “soy free” as a possible asset.

We’ve been greatly helped in our “Soy Alert” campaign by Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has reached millions through his website  www.mercola.com, the world’s leading health and dietary website.  Numerous other websites and Facebook pages have also helped this message go viral.   Sales of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food have remained steady after six years.

Clearly, the soy controversy’s not going away anytime soon.   Soy’s still in more than 60 percent of processed and packaged food products and in nearly 100 percent of  fast foods, but the tide seems to have finally turned.

Time to celebrate with a real egg nog!

Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, is The Naughty NutritionistTM because of her ability to outrageously and humorously debunk nutritional myths. A popular guest on radio and television, she has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, ABC's View from the Bay, NPR's People's Pharmacy and numerous other shows. Her own radio show, "Naughty Nutrition with Dr. Kaayla Daniel," launches April 2011 on World of Women Radio. Dr. Daniel is the author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food, a popular speaker at Wise Traditions and other conferences, and recipient of its 2005 Integrity in Science Award. Her website is www.naughtynutritionist.com and she can be reached at Kaayla@DrKaaylaDaniel.com.

8 Responses to Happy New Year. No Soy to the World!

  1. Deb says:

    I think the celebration is a bit premature.

    If you read ingredient labels, there is still soybean (oil, etc.) in almost everything on a supermarket shelf. Granted, I don’t buy that stuff, but other folks do. It’s about half entertaining to walk up the aisles of a grocery store these days and try to find even one item which doesn’t contain soy something. Bottled salad dressings, Miracle Whip and mayo are probably the worst offenders I’ve seen. Soy is the first ingredient in most of that junk.

    Also, the supplement industry has gone hog wild with putting soy oil in LOTS of supplements. Buyer beware.

    So, too, do a lot of personal care items – body lotions especially.

    The stuff is pervasive. It’s everywhere. It’s in everything. Getting rid of it is unlikely.

    • Dr Kaayla Daniel says:

      Just a few years ago, soy foods were enjoying double digit growth in the marketplace. That’s finally coming to an end. As you say “getting rid of it is unlikely,” but we are making progress. Always best to avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible.

  2. Alan says:

    Well it is good to see that a marketing juggernaut is not invincible. But do you have a comment on the usage trend of soy lecithin? At this point I cannot believe its use is anywhere near declining. It is listed on virtually every package in the grocery store for anything that has more than 3 ingredients.

    Fortunately I am not so dependent on packaged foods. But I would like to buy an occasional cookie or chocolate now and then that doesn’t have soy lecithin in it. So what’s the story?

    • Dr Kaayla Daniel says:

      Lecithin is used in minuscule quantities and not an issue for most people. For more info see my July 8, 2010 blog “Questions about Soy Lecithin.”

  3. Deb says:

    My DIL just started selling body care products (lotions, soaps, etc) and I don’t know about all of their products, but I noticed the lotion had soy oil as the second ingredient. Yet, these ladies who are now calling themselves CEO’s of this company (on the backs of their pyramid workers like my DIL who believes all the hype) are trying to convince her that the soy oil is not “real” soy oil, it’s Vitamin E.

    I know a little about tocopherols and mixed tocopherols and all, but could you expand on that? If it’s vitamin E they’re after, why don’t they just use wheat germ oil or, for that matter, vitamin E oil?? I don’t understand their logic but they have my DIL convinced. She is mad at me because I won’t buy any of the products. I’m sorry, but even I won’t spend $8.50 on a bar of soap which contains “natural fragrances and essences” being passed off as healthy and organic. Natural fragrances – that can mean almost anything, can’t it?

    Help me untangle this mess!

    P.S. I don’t seem to be notified when there is a response here (had no idea that you or Alan commented here) – how do I know when there’s been a comment made? I have your blog on my RSS feed and check it often but it doesn’t register unless there’s a new post. I guess that doesn’t include new comments.

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