Soy protein isolates are sold by Scoular as a source of protein for nutritional drinks and bars, and as water binding agents in meat products.
Food ingredients suppliers often turn to the rich domestic market to source soy but Scoular is looking farther afield.
The agribusiness company has become the exclusive distributor of soy protein isolate manufactured by China-based Sinoglory in the US and Canada. This will help Scoular tap into steady growth in demand for nutritional products but the agreement also has a couple of other more specific benefits.
Supply chain manager Brian Martin said the deal would provide Scoular with a lower cost alternative to domestic soy that is “every bit as good” as what is grown on US soil. This will help the company meet demand for lower cost ingredients for functional foods.
In addition, the soy protein isolates from Sinoglory are specifically non-GM. Martin said having a supply of GM-free soy is important when targeting health and wellness markets like the nutritional beverage sector.
Sourcing non-GMO soy
But sourcing non-GM soy has become increasingly difficult in recent years as genetically modified crops have taken over the marketplace.
Martin said it is difficult to maintain a consistent source of GMO-free soy from the US and the cost of segregating and certifying it is high.
A recent government report in the UK confirmed this, warning that the EU hardline on GM crops and foods may not be sustainable. Food manufacturers told the government the cost of sourcing non-GM food ingredients is increasing so that they now cost 10 to 20 per cent more than their GM equivalents.
Soy was a particular area of concern and the government said that it may become impossible to maintain the current non-GM soy supply chain when so many farmers in the Americas are switching to GM.