New soy-based items hit the market
Industrial use of soybean oil for non-biodiesel purposes up by 80 million bushels from five years ago
Soy ingredients go into a variety of products, from hair conditioners to long-burning candles to wood adhesives and more. As part of its mission to continuously expand the demand for U.S. soybeans, the soybean checkoff helped bring 32 new soy-based products to market in 2010. That’s an increase from the 26 products introduced last year with help from the checkoff.
“New uses for soy and new soy-based products mean increasing demand for U.S. soybeans,” says Bob Haselwood, chair of the USB New Uses program and a soybean farmer from Berryton, Kan. The farmer-leaders who focus their checkoff volunteer work on developing new uses for soybeans regularly examine proposals from researchers all over the U.S. who are working on new soy-based products, carefully determining which are worthy of checkoff funding in order to help bring them to market.
“We look to invest checkoff resources with industry partners interested in using soy and are willing to invest some of their own resources,” says Haselwood. “If we can provide assistance in funding research and development, we will provide an incentive to help find new ways to use soy and increase demand for U.S. soybeans.”
The farmer-leaders’ work over the years has paid off. In 2010, industrial use of soybean oil for purposes other than biodiesel production was expected to account for between 1.15 and 1.35 billion pounds or the oil from nearly 120 million bushels of soybeans. That’s up from 80 million bushels used in 2006.
Thanks to checkoff support, new soy-based products will go into new vehicle armrests manufactured by the Michigan-based Lear Corporation, the number two company globally that produces whole seats for vehicles. The new armrests will be used by Hyundai/Kia Motors. Just as soy replaces petrochemicals used in traditional candles, soy replaces petrochemicals traditionally used in the manufacturing of vehicle seating.
Another example from the 2010 list is a new soy-acrylic stain by Rust-Oleum Corporation available at retailers nationwide. “So many soy-based products now replace petrochemicals,” says Haselwood. “Soybeans represent an abundant, renewable resource. We grow soybeans every year, so they can fulfill the needs for a renewable feedstock.”
Each soy-based product on the 2010 list represents the culmination of a three- to five-year process that began with researchers presenting their ideas for new soy technology to USB farmer-directors. USB and the checkoff continue to look for industry partners with ideas for new products and technologies that will grow demand for U.S. soy. “As industries look for more renewable resources, and learn more about new ways to use soy, we will see larger percentages of soy used in new products and more new products using renewable soy technologies,” says Haselwood.