Soy is a predominant ingredient in the food industry. The soy market includes meat alternatives, dairy alternatives, grains, snacks, cereals, meal replacements, protein powders and formulas. Some examples of meat alternatives made of soy include: tofu, tempeh, vegetarian burgers and frankfurters, meatless luncheon slices, canned meat analogs (plant based versions of common meat products), ground soy burger, and soy bacon. Examples of dairy alternatives include: soy milk, soy creamers, soy yogurts, tofu based butter alternatives, soy whipped toppings, soy cheese, and non-dairy desserts. Soy is used for textured vegetable protein in meal replacements and protein powders. Other soy foods including soy sauce, tamari, soy nut butter, and miso. Soy based formulas for infants are also popular. Tofu is a cheese-like food made after curdling the soymilk and is an excellent substitute for cheese for lactose intolerant people. Tamari or soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans and is used as flavouring agent.
For the past 30 years, investigators have shown that consumption of soy protein selectively decreases total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and maintains HDL (good) cholesterol in individuals with elevated blood cholesterol levels. Based on the various research findings, United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a health claim for soy protein in October of 1999. The health claim states “consumption of 25gms of soy protein per day with a diet low in saturated fat may lower the risk of heart diseases”. Various studies conducted by National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and Avinaslingam University, Tamil Nadu have confirmed that use of soya products have improved overall health of children, pregnant woman, new born babies and adolescent girls. Government of India has allocated Rs 11,000 crores for mid day school meals, ICDS scheme for weaker/backward section of society where soya is one of main ingredient prescribed by technical committee on ICDS food recommendation. Soya bari is consumed by poor people through daily purchase like vegetable and meat.