Soy farmers and organizations will be refocusing efforts on promoting soymilk, miso, edamame and other foods for April, as the month is designated National Soyfoods Month.
Several state and national organizations have jumped in, offering recipes, cooking demonstrations, coupons or answering questions about the benefits of soyfoods.
A special area of focus this month for the National Soyfoods Council is refocusing the use of soyfoods for people with food allergies or special dietary preferences.
Gluten-free recipes include vegetable-based noodle salads, corn chowders and gluten-free cookies, the council says. The recipes include a variety of soy ingredients, from edamame to soymilk and tofu – and can also be used to satisfy the needs of a vegetarian or vegan.
The Kansas Soybean Commission adds that National Soyfoods Month is also an opportunity to showcase the versatility of the bean in food applications, and clear up misconceptions.
"Soyfoods are a convenient, nutritious choice," said Charlene Patton, consumer-media specialist for the Kansas Soybean Commission. "Soy is the only plant-based complete protein, and it is cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat."
Patton's more than 300 recipes posted on the KSC website include appetizers, snack foods, beverages, breads, children's recipes, desserts, holiday recipes, entrees, salads and more.
Additionally, many shoppers are confused when it comes to selecting soy products. Soyfoods month provides an opportunity to reach out to consumers and answer their questions.
To address the need for information, the Soyfoods Association of North America is organizing a Twitter chat with retail dietitians on Wednesday, April 10 at 1 p.m. ET. Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, will host the chat, focusing on the role of soyfoods in a healthy diet and easy ways to incorporate them into everyday meals.
Scritchfield, a Washington, D.C.-based dietitian and fitness expert, specializes in improving overall eating habits. Follow #SoyChat on Twitter to join in the discussion.
Despite the focus on soyfoods like tempeh or soy flour, KSC's Patton says April is a good month to reflect on the many end-users of soy.
"While National Soyfoods Month primarily is about consuming soy oil and protein in whole soybeans or soy-based foods, it also is a great opportunity to remind people that animal agriculture is the largest 'processor' of soybeans.
"In fact, poultry and livestock consume the vast majority of the soybean meal produced in this country. That is why the soy checkoff encourages consumer choices toward a balanced diet, funds research to improve both soyfoods and soybean meal, and supports programs in animal agriculture."