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.
- “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!