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India’s Evolving Food Market Could Boost Demand For U.S. Soy

U.S. soybean farmers may hear a lot about soy dahls in the future.

With India’s population expected to approach 1.4 billion by 2025 — displacing China as the world’s most populated nation —the soy checkoff aims to increase India’s demand for U.S. soy—an increasingly popular ingredient in such Indian food staples as dahl, a type of curry.

Sharon Covert, soy checkoff farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Tiskilwa, Ill., recently discussed India’s changing population and what it means for U.S. soybean farmers.

Q: What does India’s population growth mean for U.S. soy?

A: India’s middle class is growing rapidly. As those people move to urban areas and increase their income, demand for soy will increase. The arrival of multinational grocery chains will increase food demand. All of this means that India will probably become an importer of soy within the next five to seven years, and U.S. soy has an opportunity to meet that demand.

Q: What is the checkoff doing to promote U.S. soy in India?

A: The checkoff helped develop the soy dahl, which has been a big hit. Previously, people made dahl, a food staple in India, out of lentils. But using soy increases the protein content. The soy dahl has been used in school feeding programs to help undernourished children. Also, the checkoff has shown fish farmers the advantages of using soy meal rather than fishmeal in feed. India’s aquaculture industry has grown a lot, and it could help increase demand for U.S. soy.

Q: How does the Indian market differ from other export markets?

A: Every part of the world has different eating habits and thus different types of end uses for soy. Right now, India uses a larger amount of soy for human consumption than for animal ag or industrial uses. Other countries, like China, use a lot of soy for animal utilization. I think as the poultry and aquaculture sectors in India grow, this may change.

Source: Unitedsoybean.org


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