Ken Budke, owner of Natural Soy Products in Brooklyn

Ken Budke, owner of Natural Soy Products in Brooklyn. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Soy helps make everyday products perform better

February 15, 2021

How do you use soy in your daily life or business? Let us know at by March 15 to be entered to win a soy candle.


How would you respond if someone asked, “What’s so great about soy products?” 

It’s true that soybean oil is one of the most versatile of the natural oils. Its molecular structure and suitable fatty acid profile can be readily modified for many applications. But science jargon isn’t always the best way to get a point across. 

So, how about these quick facts? Soybean oil is … 

  • Able to meet or exceed the performance of petroleum in many products. 
  • Readily available and grown right here in the U.S. 
  • Environmentally friendly and biodegradable. 
  • Affordable. 

Helping Companies Deliver 

Iowa-based Natural Soy Products manufactures soy-biobased fifth-wheel grease containing 67% soy oil. It displaces the petroleum found in traditional fifth wheel grease. 

According to the company, the average over-the-road semi tractor-trailer uses about 20 pounds of fifth-wheel grease in a year. With about 2 million semis rolling across America’s highways, they alone represent an estimated 40 million pounds of fifth-wheel grease use each year. 

Switching their fleet of 81 tractor-trailers to this locally produced product has helped Iowa-based grocer Fareway Stores, Inc. meet sustainability goals without sacrificing performance or cost. 

“I’m very impressed with the biobased fifth-wheel grease,” says Mark Wyrick, director of fleet management for Fareway Stores, Inc. “It’s comparable in performance and cost to the petroleum-based product we had been using.” 

For the team at Fareway Stores, Inc., a family-owned business with Iowa roots, supporting farmers and the local economy is also a top priority. 

“Being from Iowa, we are interested in supporting the local farmers who grow soybeans and choosing products that are better for the environment,” Wyrick adds. “This product fits the bill.” 

This grease is also recognized as a qualified product in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred program. USDA assists federal government agencies to increase their purchase and use of biobased products. 

Natural Soy Product’s fifth-wheel grease has also recently been put to work in Washington, D.C., for DC Water’s fleet, which distributes drinking water and collects and treats wastewater for more than 672,000 residents and 17.8 million annual visitors in the District of Columbia. 

Natural Soy Products manufactures and sells more than 70 lubricants, cleaners, sealers, grease and other products, including SoySeal Ultra, which was approved for use by the Iowa Department of Transportation in July 2020. This product is absorbed into the pores near the concrete’s surface, creating a hydrophobic barrier which blocks water and salt.

Hitting the road

Speaking of roads, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company introduced the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive in 2020 – the company’s fourth line of soy-based tires.

The United Soybean Board (USB) supported Goodyear research that discovered soybean oil could improve tire flexibility at low temperatures, helping the rubber remain pliable in cold weather and enhancing traction in rain and snow simultaneously.

“Issues related to sustainability and enhancing soil health and water quality are talked about more frequently, and U.S. soybean farmers are leading in that space,” says Iowa Soybean Association member Tom Oswald, who was reelected to USB in December. “Partnerships on soy-based products drive domestic demand and help tell the story of U.S. soy.”

Goodyear’s sustainability goals outlined in their Corporate Responsibility Report say the company plans to fully replace petroleum-derived oils by 2040. 

For those who would rather hit the road for a run, you can now do so with soy-based rubber technology in Skechers footwear. Thanks to their collaboration with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the door to a new market for U.S.-grown soybeans has been opened. Skechers’ soy-based shoes are available in stores and online in the Skechers GOrun collection. 

Protecting your home or business

Daily expansion and contraction is critical to roof performance and longevity. As a roof ages, oil dries causing asphalt roof shingles to become brittle and break.

Roof Maxx is a scientifically formulated treatment derived from soybean oil. Soy-Fusion Technology enables millions of microbeads of soybean oil to quickly penetrate brittle asphalt shingles, rejuvenating the asphalt and restoring flexibility.

The Keokuk County Farm Bureau brought in Roof Maxx to treat its facility’s roof in 2019.

“We know it’s soybean-based, which is a good thing for Farm Bureau members, as we’re all farmers,” says Ryan Vogel, who was county president at the time. “The more we can use our product and help ourselves the better.” 

“One of the deciding factors was also the cost savings,” Vogel adds. Roof Maxx restores the flexibility and water repelling qualities in roofing shingles to extend the useful life for 5 to 10 years — or even 15 years with additional applications. 

Treatment with Roof Maxx is 100% safe for people, pets, property and the environment. The company says work is completed in an hour, with no mess, for a fraction of the cost of a new roof. 

How do you use soy in your daily life or business? Let us know at by March 15 to be entered to win a soy candle.

This story was originally published in the February 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review.