Photo Credit: WISHH

Photo Credit: WISHH

ISA and WISHH build partnerships to reap the power of soy protein

January 19, 2022

Iowa soybean grower and ASA/WISHH Secretary Morey Hill joined WISHH in December to witness the power of soy protein for businesses and government agencies that are on the frontlines of global food security.

Hill participated in WISHH’s USB-funded “U.S. Soybean Growers Take Action for Global Food Security” dialogue in Rhode Island on Dec. 15-16. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Associate Administrator Brooke Jamison and U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator Mike Michener, who is a native of Iowa, attended along with other global food security leaders and industry representatives. 

“The American farmer is good at growing soybeans, and we will produce,” says Hill.  “But we always need markets for that production whether it’s turning soybeans to soybean meal to feed hogs or chicken or into aquaculture feed or soy meal like we saw in Rhode Island to actually feed people with a soy-based product.”

The program included an opportunity to pack soy-protein foods at a Rhode Island-based enterprise that counts on U.S. soy to supply protein. Every day, Edesia manufacturers 1.5 million packets of soy-containing foods at their technologically sophisticated factory that runs 24-hours a day. Edesia is the largest U.S.-based producer of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic (RUTF) and Supplementary (RUSF) foods.

In 2022, Edesia forecasts they will use 7.5 million pounds of soy flour, requiring the equivalent of about 192,307 bushels of soybeans. Additionally, Edesia would like to use 5 million pounds of high oleic soybean oil per year.

Edesia and WISHH are exploring a new all-soy formulation of a RUSF, which would meet their protein requirements and reduce their costs. Edesia calculates that the soy protein product would allow them to produce enough of this nutritional treatment to nourish a total of 2 million children each year.

“Not all proteins are created equal,” reported Edesia staff to WISHH’s event attendees. “Soy is by far the best protein available in the plant world for both quality and quantity. That is why soy is such an important part of our products.”

Edesia’s leading customers are the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), USDA, UNICEF, WFP, and other organizations that purchase their products. These organizations transport Edesia’s products to some of the world’s most challenging places and remote locations. As a federal contractor selling into USAID’s Title II P.L. 480 program, they must source U.S. commodities.

In total, Edesia’s products are consumed in 60 countries. The packages that Hill saw manufactured in December shipped to West Africa where government and non-governmental organizations are distributing them to communities with high levels of malnutrition.

WISHH already conducts trade and development activities in the region that is home to WISHH supply chain partners. These companies can also produce high-performing foods and feeds with quality U.S. ingredients to further fill the protein gap.

“Soybeans are going to help feed the world,” says Hill. “That just means more opportunity.”

Story and photos courtesy of WISHH.