Children in West Africa will soon get a nutritious taste from Tennessee. A landmark shipment of high-quality soy protein isolates is loaded at Solae's Memphis facility. It is destined for school children in Liberia where nearly 40% of children under age five are malnourished.
The 80 metric tons of Solae product will make a 5000-plus mile journey as the first shipment of soy protein isolates used in a U.S. food assistance program. The Tennessee Soybean Council-supported World Initiative for Soy in Human Health worked with the International Relief and Development organization, which requested the product for its U.S. Department of Agriculture-supported Food for Education efforts in Liberia. WISHH was also instrumental in providing the U.S. government with the nutritional data that led to them accepting multiple high-quality soy protein ingredients for U.S. food assistance programs.
Tennessee soybean growers Jimmy Barbour of Friendship and Keith Wilder of Millington as well as Tennessee Soybean Association & Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board Executive Director Parks Wells witnessed loading of the isolates on Tuesday. "We are pleased that soy can do so much good in the world," said Barbour. "The potential appetite for soy protein is projected to increase by 75% by 2025 as developing country populations grow and seek more protein in their diets."
"Sending soy to school children is an important use of our crop that will make an immediate difference in children's lives," said Wilder. "It also has a key long-term role to play as better diets help children learn and grow up to contribute to the economic progress of their countries. Lifting low-income consumers out of poverty is the most important factor in future global demand for food.
"In addition to giving product, Solae's involvement has been to provide nutrition education. Childhood is a critical time for good nutrition, and this product delivers nutrients required by growing children," said Michele Fite, vice president of global strategy and marketing - Solae. "The soy protein will be used for a nutritionally-balanced beverage for the school children. Shipping this soy protein to Liberia represents a very important milestone in a project that began about two years ago."
Solae soy protein isolates are a plant-based, high quality and nutritionally complete source of protein that are used in many foods and beverages across the globe. The overall IRD project benefits 30,000 primary school children. Thanks to the isolates, it will offer protein-enriched beverages to school children in three counties in Liberia. In addition to boosting nutrition, the IRD effort works with local manufacturers to create jobs.