Iowa Public Television

 

Midwest Harvest Tofu Background

posted on June 16, 2000


AGRICULTURE IS FULL OF RISKS AND NONE MAY BE GREATER THAN ENTERING THE SO-CALLED VALUE-ADDED MARKETPLACE -- TRYING TO BREAK INTO THE COMPETITIVE RETAIL FOOD MARKET.

MARKET TO MARKET HAS REPORTED ON A NUMBER OF FARMERS WHO'VE ENTERED THIS SECTOR OF "RETAIL" AGRICULTURE.

MEAT, MILK, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES -- THE VENTURES HAVE RUN THE GAMUT OF FOOD PRODUCTION, DELIVERED TO STORE AISLES, FARMERS MARKETS, RESTAURANTS, EVEN THE CONSUMER'S DOORSTEP. BUT THE FASTEST-GROWING COMMODITY OF OPPORTUNITY FOR FARMERS MAY WELL LIE IN THE SOY SECTOR.

SOYBEANS ARE BEING USED TO PRODUCE AMONG OTHER THINGS: FLOUR, SNACK FOODS, BABY FOOD, CHEESE-LIKE SLICES, SOYMILK, TOFU, AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES.

ONCE FOUND ONLY IN HEALTH FOOD STORES, THESE PRODUCTS NOW HAVE A SPOT IN MANY CONVENTIONAL GROCERY STORES.

DENNY JOHNSON, Dahl's produce manager (paraphrased):"Mainly because of health concerns they've had. And all the information heart patients are getting. They come in here looking for something that substitutes for meats."

A STUDY SPONSORED BY THE UNITED SOYBEAN BOARD PREDICTS THE GROWTH OF SOY IN FOODS WILL INCREASE AT A RATE OF TEN PERCENT A YEAR FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

THAT TRANSLATES FROM THE USB'S ESTIMATE OF 37 (m) MILLION BUSHELS OF U.S. SOYBEANS CURRENTLY USED TO MAKE SOY FOODS ... UP TO MORE THAN 66 MILLION BUSHELS BY THE YEAR 2005 … AND TO NEARLY 100 MILLION BUSHELS BY 2010.

FOR FARMERS GROWING FOOD-GRADE BEANS, IT CAN ADD MORE THAN $1.00 TO THE PRICE OF A BUSHEL OF SOYBEANS.AND CHOOSING TO GROW ORGANIC FOOD-GRADE SOYBEANS CAN MEAN SEVERAL ADDITIONAL DOLLARS PER BUSHEL THAN SELLING BEANS ON THE OPEN COMMODITY MARKET.


Tags: agriculture food news soybeans