Sales and Trends

Sales Data

  • From 1996 to 2011, soyfoods sales have increased from $1 billion to $5.2 billion over 15 years. This increase can be attributed to new soyfoods categories being introduced, soyfoods being repositioned in the market place, and new customers selecting soy for health and philosophical reasons.
  • Dramatic growth followed the FDA approval of a health claim linking soy with heart disease reduction. Click here for a complete breakdown of soyfoods sales 1996-2011 (PDF).
  • Sales of some categories of soyfoods such as Energy Bars have grown signaling consumer demand for convenient foods.  But, many consumers are focusing on new foods, healthy foods, plant-based foods, and international cuisine which should help the soyfoods market steadily grow.
  • U.S. soy-based foods market recovered from a sluggish 2009 and, in line with overall retail foods sales, grew 1.9% in 2010, reaching $4.968 billion in sales and up 1.1% in 2011, reaching $5.17 billion in sales.
  • Energy Bars sales ($1.09 billion) surpassed Soymilk Beverages sales for the first time in 2011.  Energy Bars, Meal Replacements and Supplemental Powders, Meat Alternatives, and Cold Cereals increased sales and boosted overall soyfoods sales above 2010 levels.  Categories that performed poorly in 2011included Baby Formula and Food, Frozen Entrees, Pizza and Convenience Foods, Cookies & Snacks and Cheese Alternatives, Yogurt & Kefir, Frozen Desserts and Chips & Snacks. But, in this category, sales of soy nuts were up 14%, edamame sales up 4% and sales of soy nut butter rose slightly.
  • Sales of soymilk beverages sales ($994.3 million) declined by 0.7%, significantly less than the 4% reduction in 2010; however, these figures do not include the growing sales of private-label soy milk from coffee shops, Walmart, Whole Foods, and other outlets. The market for soymilk beverages continued to be overwhelmingly dominated by Non-dairy Refrigerated Soymilk products in 2011, accounting for 70% of the market share.  The emerging functional subcategory of specialty beverages gained more than 1 point to become 18.6% of the total soymilk market.  Combined, refrigerated products accounted for 89% of the category, while shelf-stable products (virtually all aseptic) continued to decline to 11.2% of the soymilk market.
  • Sales of soy-based Meat Alternatives ($662 million) grew 2% in 2011 after growing just 4.2% in 2010.  Frozen meat alternatives grew at a faster rate (2.6%) than refrigerated meat alternatives (1%) in 2011 and frozen meat alternatives accounted for 86% of the category.
  • Tofu sales recovered from a few challenging years and grew 3.2% in 2011 with strongest growth in the Other channel of stores, including Asian market sales.
  • The Food, Drug, and Mass market channels sold 52.3% of the soy products in 2011, after years of selling soyfoods almost exclusively with natural foods stores. However, many supermarkets now carry both national soyfoods brands and their own store brands of soy products.

Source: Soyfoods: The U.S. Market 2012, published by Soyatech, Inc. and powered by SPINS, Inc. data. For more information, contact Soyatech at 800.424.SOYA, or by email at


2008 2009 2010 2011

Percent Change (from 2010-2011)

Tofu $258 $252 $247 $255 3.2%
Soymilk $1,156 $1,081 $1,043 $1,033 -1.0%
Meat Alternatives $607 $622 $649 $662 2.0%
Energy Bars $792 $808 $952 $1,092 14.7%
Soy Cheese, Cultured Soy (Soy Yogurt) & Frozen Soy Desserts $221 $203 $186 $174 -6.4%
All Other Products $2,094 $2,053 $2,039 $1,956 -4.0%
Total Sales (Millions) $5,128 $5,020 $5,116 $5,172 1.1%


Consumer Attitudes

  • 42% of Americans consume soyfoods or soy beverages once a month or more, compared to 30% back in 2006. The gain appears to be from those who consume soy once a week or more (19% in 2006 to 28% in 2013). Conversely, 27% indicate that they never consume soy, which has decreased steadily since 2006 (then at 43%).
  • 47% of consumers, up from 31% in 2010, seek out products specifically because they contain soy, and approximately 26% are aware of specific health benefits of soy in their diet.
  • Soymilk remains the most frequently consumed soyfood, followed by edamame and veggie burgers.  Tofu sits in fourth place.
  • In 2013, over 75% of consumers perceived soy products as healthy on an aided basis, which is an 8% increase over 15 years.
  • On an unaided basis, consumers most frequently mention the following specific health benefits of soy: It’s good for you (18%, up from 14% in 2012), source of protein (16%), low in fat (14%), heart healthy (12%), good for women (11%) and cholesterol lowering (10%). Consumers have increased a focus on high protein content of soyfoods associated with benefits of increasing satiety and curbing appetite.
  • Dinner is the most popular meal time for consuming soy products (38%); followed by breakfast (32%), lunch (27%, up from 21% in 2012), mid-afternoon snacking (16%), late evening snacking (10%), mid-morning snacking (10%) and desserts (4%).
  • As in past years, vegetable oil is second only to olive oil in terms of the cooking oil consumers report that they use most frequently (69%). Olive oil saw a four point decrease while vegetable oil inched up one percentage point.  Yet, slightly over half of consumers who use vegetable oil remain unaware of what vegetable makes up their vegetable oil, with just 10% listing soybeans.
  • Four in 10 consumers say they are aware of the FDA claim that consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • For more information: United Soybean Board 2013 Consumer Attitudes Report (pdf)