Soy Market Slumping?

May 11, 2011

Mintel estimates the market to fall another 17% by 2012.

The soy food and beverage market declined 16% between 2008 and 2010, according to a new report from Mintel International and market researcher SPINS. Mintel estimates the market to fall another 17% by 2012.

“While some of this fall is due to the recession and consumers cutting back on premium-priced soy items, competition from other heart-healthy foods and good-tasting, soy-free milk alternatives are also challenging the industry and hampering soy sales,” Mintel states.

Consumers may be experiencing soy burnout, adds David Browne, a Mintel senior analyst. “Not too long ago, American consumers were told soy is a ‘super food’ that they can’t get enough of, but now they’re hearing that they may be getting too much. With soy aversion now a relevant concern, there are tons of competitive products available that have made it easy to switch to something new.”

Mintel says that at last half of its survey respondents said they use soy because they like the taste-but taste is also the main reason why 45% of respondents said they avoid soy. About a quarter of non-soy users also indicated that soy is too expensive.

Mintel also broke the numbers down by most widely used soy products, with soy sauce leading the pack at 42%, followed by soymilk at 19%, soy protein-based energy bars at 15%, and edamame at 14%.

Those seeking alternatives to soy reported using coconut milk, oat milk, and almond milk. Notably, soy allergies are another reason some consumers avoid soy.