The Chamber for Advancement of Small and Medium Businesses (CASMB) along with the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) organized a one-day seminar on “Soy Food Uses and Business Opportunities” on 29th September 2022 at JW Marriot Juhu, Mumbai.
The soy food industry is growing in India at an annual rate of 8- 10 %. Factors that are driving the growth in this industry are higher disposable income, increased awareness about the health benefits of soy, and improved retailing of healthy food products.
The objective of this seminar was to enhance and polish the skills of budding entrepreneurs and start-up operators in the field of soy food processing.
Chief Guest Shri Pawan Kumar Agarwal, IAS, Former Secretary Government of India (Retd.) encouraged people to include more protein in their daily diets, especially vegetarian diets. He said that soya is a possible solution to malnutrition and will help increase agricultural income. It is the cheapest source of plant protein, per gram of soya protein is 90% cheaper than dairy protein. He spoke about the Food Future Foundation’s initiative to overcome protein deficiency and a mega seminar that will be held in Delhi on November 14th on the occasion of World Diabetes Day.
Eat Right campaign
Eat Right has 3 aspects - Eat Safe, Eat Less, and Eat Sustainable. Agarwal recommended Eat Color should be added, as it will add micronutrients, anthocyanin, and other essentials to our daily diets. He also emphasized on the reduction of fat, salt, and sugar. He said that every food has an original taste and that should be enjoyed and not masked by adding salt, sugar, and fat. Trans fat reduction was initiated a few years ago and the target has been achieved 1 year prior to the target date. Eat Soya and Eat Millets should be added as another aspect of Eat Right campaign. Awareness about soya should be encouraged and a movement should be created.
Fighting diabetes-India’s silent killer
Guest of Honor Padmashree Dr. Shashank Joshi mentioned that September 29th is World Heart Day and it is very important that we take care of our hearts. November 14th is celebrated as World Diabetes Day, which is India’s biggest silent killer. In India, 70% of the food consumed is composed of carbohydrates, followed by fat and India is a protein-deficient country. Due to this diet, we have high heart ailments and high diabetes rates. Indians are also “Sarcopenic”, which means thin and fat but with fewer muscles. Indians have 33% fat, whereas Americans have 25% and African Americans have 20%. Dr. Joshi talked about the deadly quartet – cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. If we reduce carbohydrate intake and increase protein intake, then even diabetes can be reversed.
He added that sitting is the next smoking and advised that a person should stand up and walk every 30 minutes and encouraged walking for at least 5000 steps. He also advised people to eat slowly, eat less, chew well, eat on time and “Eat Right”. He further advised people to sleep at least 7 hours and on time. He emphasized on overcoming digital intoxication to become healthy, at least 1 time of digital detox, engaging in music, and reading books among others.
Health benefits, panel discussion, and more
An introduction to soybean was given by Dr. Ratan Sharma and Dr. Kavitha Reddy, owner, Sreya Nutrition. He spoke on the nutritional and health benefits of soy. Dr. Suresh Itapu, technical representative, USSEC presented a talk on soybean processing and business opportunities, Deeba Glannoulis, head of US Soy Marketing, USSEC presented her views on U.S sustainability. Soy protein-based food opportunities were discussed by Indranil Chatterjee, regional product line manager, Protein Solutions.
Dr. Prabodh Halde, regulatory head, Marico gave insights on food regulations for packaged soy food and beverages. Soy ingredients in the feeding program were explained by Dr. Ratan Sharma and Will McNair director, of Protein and oil, USSEC, USA presented on the development and application of specialty US soybean database for soy foods. This was followed by a panel discussion on the challenges in soy food processing and market development. Closing remarks were given by Nilesh Lele, president, CASMB.
Soy food is one of the fastest-growing segments. Tofu production has significantly grown to 20% in India. People are widely turning vegan due to various health issues and changes in lifestyle.
Value-added soy products such as lentil analog and high protein bars/snacks are also gaining popularity these days. Current soy product categories which are produced for the market are soy milk, bakery products, extruded snacks, protein bars, soy-fortified noodles, fruit juice-based beverages, breakfast cereals, frozen desserts, soy yogurt/ buttermilk, soyabean oil, and protein supplements.
There is a huge opportunity for the soy food business in India for addressing the malnutrition problem of the country. The soy food industry can play an important role in improving India’s health status.
The event thrived, inspired, and helped the food industry enthusiasts and entrepreneurs and concluded successfully.