Start-up woos ‘hormone-conscious’ consumers with estrogen-free soy

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Start-up woos ‘hormone-conscious’ consumers with estrogen-free soy
A Delaware-based firm that has patented a process to remove estrogen and other unwanted components from soy is in advanced negotiations with manufacturers of soy foods to license its technology.

EarthSpring Foods claims its patented PrimaSoy process ‘deactivates’ estrogen in soy without requiring any significant changes to current manufacturing processes, thereby removing a key barrier to soyfoods for many consumers.

The process is also claimed to increase absorption of key nutrients by removing phytic acid (which binds to iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium in the digestive tract) and removing oligosaccharides and trypsin inhibitors, which block the absorption of important enzymes.

Providing a choice

EarthSpring, which officially launched this week at the Natural Products Expo East conference in Baltimore, also plans to produce its own estrogen-free finished soy foods under the EarthSpring brand, and has developed several sample products to show visitors at the show including soy milk, protein drinks and bars, soy flour and soy butter.

Spokesman Bob Madison told FoodNavigator-USA: ”We see an opportunity in selling our own products made with the PrimaSoy process to boutique retailers and we have identified a manufacturer capable of producing them for us. However, the bigger opportunity is in licensing our technology to manufacturers.”

Removing a key barrier to consumption

While there was “nothing wrong​” with estrogen, a naturally-occurring female sex hormone found in humans and other animals, many consumers were suspicious of it and avoided soyfoods for this reason, he said. “This just gives people a choice and removes a key barrier to consumption.”

He added: “You can barely open a newspaper today without reading about hormones in foods. A lot of women are worried about hormonal imbalances that can cause mood changes, weight gain and water retention, while a lot of men are also reluctant to eat soyfoods because they are worried about developing man boobs or how soy might influence testosterone levels."

Chief executive Deb Pace added: “EarthSpring Foods has an ambitious agenda throughout 2011 and into 2012. We will follow a two-tiered track of creating estrogen-free soy products for boutique US markets, while licensing the PrimaSoy process to manufacturers, making estrogen-free and nutrient-dense soy available to consumers globally.”

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No estrogen in soyfoods

Posted by Chiron McDonald,

Of course, there are no estrogens in soy foods. Estrogens are animal hormones. Soy foods do contain phytoestrogens, actually isoflavones, which because of similar functional groups allow them to mimic or compete with estrogen at estrogen receptors. I'm not sure the world needs another faux food made from processed soy. Americans already eat too much soy products either directly in many processed foods or indirectly through consuming animals that have been fed defatted soy meal.

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Soy and the thyroid

Posted by DJ,

I avoid soy because it is a goitrogen, and is not good for those of us with hypothyroid disease. I also avoid all GMO foods, because they cause me to have severe stomach pains, among other things. I don't see anything about this new soy processing that will make it any safer for people who have those problems caused by soy.

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