Let's talk about soy

“So, you eat soy? But what about all the issues, such as extreme deforestation, caused by soy production? Doesn’t sound very sustainable to me.”

We’ve all heard it - soy production has had and continues to have a massive negative impact on the environment. In the last few decades, we’ve lost forest, savannah and grassland areas at a staggering rate due to the expansion of soy production. Environmental destruction is a huge problem, and one that we’re very keen to help solve. 

 
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However, believe it or not, it’s not people eating scrambled tofu and tempeh stir-fries that are the driving force behind the severe deforestation. In fact, most of the world’s soy is not consumed directly in the form of plant-based meals, but indirectly in the form of chicken, pork, beef, farmed fish, as well as eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt. Globally, around 75% of soy is used to feed livestock! Due to the increase in demand for meat, soy has become one of the world’s most prevalent crops. In Europe, the largest importers of soy are the countries with large industrial-scale chicken and pig production. So, as strange as it sounds, eating animal products actually contributes to the consumption of and demand for soybeans more than soya lattes, tempeh curries and satay tofu. 

 
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Soy is actually a pretty great crop - it’s high in energy, protein and fibre and reasonably efficient. The issue is just that it’s massively over-farmed. This is why we reckon, instead of feeding this precious crop to livestock, we should cut out the middleman and use it to feed and nourish people instead. By doing this, we’d cut down soybean consumption hugely, as the energy would be used far more efficiently (just think how much more energy you’d need to feed a pig over its lifespan in the form of soybeans, than you’d consume through its meat!). Put simply, by increasing how much plant-based food we eat, we’re able to not only reduce animal suffering and carbon emissions but also the pressure to clear savannah and forest areas for soy production. Yay!

Having said this, when swapping out beef burgers, chicken nuggets and bowls of dairy ice-cream for soya products, we still think it’s important to opt for products made with responsibly-sourced soybeans* where possible. This is where our delicious, responsibly- and sustainably- sourced tempeh comes in! You get all the benefits of eating a high protein, tasty food, without the environmental destruction. Win win!

 
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Now we know some of you will still be concerned that the increase in direct soya consumption could one day simply replace the demand created by meat consumption (which would be quite a feat, but still worth considering!). But don’t fear, we’ve got you sorted! What’s so special about tempeh is that it can be made with any legume, grain, nut or seed - not just soybeans. The fermentation process will turn any of these ingredients into the firm, meaty block we know and love (as well as make them even more nutritious and delicious!). So, you don’t need to stick to soybeans to enjoy some tasty tempeh! Our goal is to eventually offer a wide range of tempeh products made with all different ingredients, so that you’re able to keep having your daily tempeh fix whilst also embracing a variety of plant-based proteins!**

For now, you’ll find us munching on some delicious soy and lupin tempeh to fuel us on our mission to encourage the world to skip meat and eat more plants. Who’s with us?!


*The soybeans used in our products are responsibly sourced from Germany and Brazil. They are Pro Terra (https://www.proterrafoundation.org/non-gmo/certification/) and Fairtrade certified, dedicated to minimising waste, ensuring fair prices and prioritising environmental protection. We're also currently in the process of obtaining organic certification from the Soil Association. 
**For those looking for soy-free tempeh for the time being, our first product range includes our Better™ Lupin Tempeh made with protein-packed lupin beans. 

Sources:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/healthy-foods-that-are-ruining-the-environment/

https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/soy

http://wwf.panda.org/our_work/food/sustainable_production/soy.cfm 

https://blogs.wwf.org.uk/blog/green-sustainable-living/can-soy-part-healthy-sustainable-diet/

https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/food-drink/soya-sustainable 

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-worlds-most-valuable-cash-crop/


Elin Roberts