Soy or soybean is one of the few plants that provide high-quality protein. We will discuss different ways of soy usage and the benefit of soy food products.
Regular consumption of soy will help us to feel better and live longer with an enhanced quality of life. Soybeans contain all three macronutrients required for good nutrition.
Besides soy food contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Soybean is a very good source of protein, which provides all the essential amino acids needed by our body.
Besides, it also contains compounds such as photo chemicals. These compounds are beneficial in cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, combating osteoporosis, and menopause regulations.
Why does India need soy food products
In India, it is evident that prevalence of malnutrition, underweight, and stunting is very high among children. Among adults, almost one-third of the population has Chronic Energy Deficiency.
Cereals are the major protein source in India, which has as inferior quality of protein as compared to other vegetables and animal protein sources.
India is among the top 5 countries in the World with high Diabetes and Heart related diseases. In this situation, inclusion of soy food products in the daily diet is most important.
It will not improve the nutritional situation of the population but also help in developing a healthy society.
Soy in Traditional Products
Compared to any other populations, Indians are more rigid in our food habits. One of the easiest ways to add soy food products in our diet is to add it in traditional diets.
This ensures healthy diet without the effort of developing new food habits. Also, traditional Indian diet is low in protein quantity and quality. Further, addition of soy has certain economic and functional benefits.
Soy Fortified Wheat Flour
Wheat soy flour, Paushtik atta, is wheat flour fortified with defatted soy flour up to 10 per cent. The protein content in Paushtik atta increases by about 25-30 percent compared to regular whole-wheat atta.
In addition to nutritional improvement, soy food products like soy fortified flour will improve functional characteristics of end products. This is in terms of better moisture retention and less oil absorption.
Soy Fortified Gram Flour
Next to Paushtik atta, this product has the greatest potential for soy utilization. These soy food products are major raw materials for most snacks. Soy flour, which has more than double the protein of chickenpea flour (besan) is much cheaper than Chikcpeas.
At the same time, soy flour blends very well with Besan. Soy flour can replace almost 20 percent of Besan. Thus saving money on inputs and adding nutritions.
Soy Nuggest and Granules
Soy Nuggets and Granules are versatile, economical and convenient for consumption by all classes of consumers on all occasions. In India, with its rapidly growing health consciousness, this food products have high potential.
Badi has more than 50 percent protein that makes it very rich source of vegetable proteins. This product is used as a replacement for meat in the vegetable diet of most Indian.
Soy Milk and Tofu
Soy milk and Soy Tofu is one of the fastest growing soy food segments. Almost every non dairy products are replace by Soy milk. Soy ice cream, yoghurt and soy milk based desserts are introduced in the market.
These are perfect alternatives for people who can not digest dairy milk. Future is looking bright for this soy food products.
Soy in Bakery
In different bakery products, wheat flour can be fortified with soy both for functional and nutritional reasons. In general, defatted soy flour can be added up to 3 per cent without changing formulation except water.
Currently a number of bakers are using enzyme active soy flour up to one per cent as a bread improver. Soy flour and Soy lecithin can be added to cake mix and replace the eggs. This is the only option for those vegetarians who wanted to taste cakes without eggs in it.
Papad is another potential fortification opportunity for soybean in Indian traditional food products. Sot flour can be blended up to 30-40 per cent in black gram (Urad Dal) for manufacturing of soy fortified papad.
This soy food products are highly cost effective. Addition of Soy flour not only increases protein contents up to 30 per cent but also reduces the raw materials cost.
At present, several papad manufacturers are working on this food products as the demand for Soy papad is increasing.
Soy Nuts are whole soybeans that have been soaked in water and roasted until browned. It is eaten as snacks, as an alternative to peanuts. Pea nuts are expensive and pose the problems of aflatoxins.
Roasted Soy Nuts have at least 50 per cent less fat than peanuts. This soy products is the second fastest growing soy food segments next only to Soy Milk and Soy Tofu.
Other Soy Food Products
In addition to above mentioned products, there are a number of soy food products. These are extruded snacks, breakfast cereals, and defatted soy flour.
Other products available are soy milk powder, soy ice cream, soy lassi, soy bujiia, soy coffee, soy yoghurt, soy sattu. Indian government is providing soy food products in the mid day meal schemes.
Soy Food Products is a huge untapped potential in India. Consumption of soy food products will not only improve the nutritional status but also contribute towards economic development of the Nation. Farmers income will also double.