History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Europe (incl. Eastern Europe and the USSR (1597 - Mid 1980s) - Page 4

by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi

A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and Soyfoods: 1100 B.C. to the 1980s

Copyright 2007 Soyinfo Center, Lafayette, California

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1940-1959. The escalation of World War II in 1939 and 1940 precipitated a sharp drop in German imports of soybeans and soy oil. The country began to draw on its reserves and to continue modest imports from overseas and the Danubian countries; these reached 760,000 tonnes in 1941, but had fallen to only 19,000 tonnes by 1943.

In the early years of the war, most of the imported and stocked soybeans were solvent extracted to make soy oil and meal. Much of the meal was used to make defatted soy flour, which played a very important role in German civilian and military life throughout the war. It was much more important than it had been during World War I, being used both as a meat extender and as a high-protein food fortifier. Soy flour was the basis of a famous antifatigue biscuit for soldiers on the march. Soy oil was used to make shortening and margarine, which conserved scarce animal fats, and some glycerine from soy oil was used to make explosives. In mid-1940 the London Times reported that "The soya has become vitally important to Germany from the food, the economic, and the military standpoint." In 1940 Gottleib Haberlandt (son of the great pioneer Friedrich Haberlandt), now at the University of Berlin, encouraged the Germans to make increasing use of soybeans as a source of oil and protein. In 1942 a wartime film playing in the USA showed the extensive use of soyfoods in Germany. It was stated that the much vaunted "secret weapon" of the Nazis lay in the methods they had developed for making soyfoods. A Japanese (Ohta 1975) reported that the Germans even went so far as to develop smoked and dried natto, which they used in submarines and during their war in Greece. The Germans also used soy flour extensively in the countries they occupied during the war. Thus, once again as during World War I, soyfoods got the image of a food associated with war, hardship, and privation, an image that took 3 decades to be forgotten.

During the war the Germans made a breakthrough discovery in preventing off-flavor development in soy oil through the use of citric acid. This had a major effect worldwide during the 1950s and 1960s of increasing the quality and popularity of soy oil. As the war advanced, most of Germany's major oil milling centers were severely damaged and it was not until 1949 that soybean crushing was resumed.

After the war, Germany was divided into two countries: East and West Germany. The following history pertains only to events in West Germany. Nothing is known of developments with soybeans and soyfoods in East Germany since its founding in October 1949.

In contrast to the situation in France, not much was published in Germany during this period on soybeans and soyfoods. One exception was Freitag's The Soybean: Its History, Significance, Culture, and Use , a 56-page book published in 1947.

Starting in 1948 West Germany again began to import soybeans and by 1950 imports had jumped to 120,000 tonnes, making the country by far the largest importer in Europe. Germany steadily increased its lead during the 1950s, with soybean imports hitting 900,000 tonnes in 1959. Imports of soy oil averaged about 20,000 tonnes a year for the decade.

During the war the US had passed Germany to become the world's largest margarine manufacturer but by 1950 West Germany was back in second place, and production rose rapidly, reaching a peak in 1956. Thereafter it dropped and in 1963 Germany was passed by the USSR in margarine production. Throughout the postwar period soy oil was more extensively used in margarine in Germany than in any other European country.

There was not much work on soybean breeding in Germany during the 1940s, although some research was published by Sessous (1942) and Oberdorf (1947). By the 1950s, with low cost soybeans readily available for import from the US, there were only two places in Germany breeding soybeans: The Max Planck Institute at Koeln^-Vogelsang and the Institute of Crop Production and Plant Breeding at the University of Giessen. Working with germplasm from around the world, the Max Planck Institute developed the varieties of Praemata and Adepta and the Giessen institute developed Caloria. Since the 1960s only the Giessen institute continued to work on soybeans; its new varieties, with low response to daylength, were Gieso and Olima. Its most promising germplasm sources were Sweden and Canada (Schuster and Boehm^, in Bunting 1981).

1960-1983. West German imports of soybeans and products expanded steadily and dramatically during this period. To help coordinate and stimulate imports from the United States, the American Soybean Association (ASA) opened an office at Hamburg in 1961 (1969??), its second overseas office (the first having opened in Tokyo in 1956). Between 1960 and 1980 total West German soybean imports rose from 1,000,000 to almost 4,000,000 tonnes as Germany retained its lead as Europe's top soybean importer. Soy oil imports, which sagged during the 1960s, grew from 42,000 tonnes in 1970 to over 140,000 tonnes in 1980, at which time West Germany was also the largest soy oil importer in Europe, but an even larger soy oil exporter (200,000 tonnes in 1980). Imports of soybean meal grew from 70,000 tonnes in 1960 to almost 2,000,000 tonnes in 1980, at which time West Germany was second only to France as a meal importer in Europe.

During the 1970s soy oil increased its share in the West German oil market because of a highly successful project by the ASA to increase awareness of soy oil by promoting identified soy oil; the oil was specifically labeled as being soy. The campaign which started in 1976 increased soy oil's share of the German oil market from 20% in 1960 to 31% in 1977, up to 47% in 1980. Details of the soy oil and meal situation in Germany are given in Chapter 40. At that time West Germany, with a population of 61,400,000 people had the highest consumption of soy oil of any European country (550,000 tonnes), the third highest annual per capita soy oil consumption (8.96 kg, after Netherlands and Denmark), and the largest soybean crushing capacity (4,300,000 tonnes).

A Seventh-day Adventist food company named DE-VAU-GE, founded in 1899, began to make soyfoods in about 1970, when they introduced a sausage analog. They soon began to make their own spun soy protein fiber and by 1981 made and marketed a full line of 16 soy products, most of them meat analogs (see Chapter 58.11).

From 11-14 November 1973 the first World Soy Protein Conference, sponsored primarily by the ASA and the US Foreign Agricultural Service??, was held in Munich. Prompted by the rapid rise in popularity of modern soy protein products in the USA, it attracted 1,100 delegates from 45 countries and greatly stimulated interest in soy protein foods, especially textured soy protein products, isolates, and concentrates. Introduced to Germany from the US in the 1960s, these products steadily expanded in use, largely as meat extenders.

An important development during the early 1980s was the rise of the soyfoods and soycrafters movement in West Germany. One of the leaders was Wolfgang Furth-Kuby, president of the publishing company Ahorn Verlag near Munich, which published in German three books by Shurtleff and Aoyagi: Das Miso Buch (July 1980), Das Tofu Buch (August 1981), and Das Tempeh Buch (1984). In 1981 Furth-Kuby started an organization called Sojaquelle which also joined the International Soyinfo Center Network. Sojaquelle was a source of information about soyfoods, of tofu kits, and of tofu equipment and ingredients. Furth-Kuby worked with Herr Wolf in Vienna to develop a source of organically grown soybeans. His brother-in-law directed a 6-minute film about tofu that was broadcast on German national television in December 1982 and introduced many Germans to tofu. As of 1982 he is planning to start a tofu and tempeh shop, to publish a pan-European soyfoods newsletter, and to hold a European soyfoods conference.

Germany's first tofu shop was started in July 1981 by Alexander Knabben, who had been influenced by the work of The Farm in the USA. By late 1982 there were four tofu plants in West Germany and one tempeh plant. People interested in macrobiotics were also active in introducing soyfoods to Germany starting in the early 1980s.

As of 1981 soybean production in West Germany was still negligible.

For more German-language publications on soybeans and soyfoods, see the sections on Austria and Switzerland in this chapter.


Ireland's interest in soybeans seems to have started very late. In 1959 the country started to import soybean meal to feed dairy and beef cattle; 9,300 tonnes were imported that year. Imports of meal increased rapidly thereafter, growing from 20,000 tonnes in 1960 to 210,000 tonnes in 1980, yet still far below most other European countries. Imports of soy oil started in 1970, growing from 1,600 tonnes that year to 12,500 tonnes in 1980, still small. Soybean imports to Ireland (and crushing) continue to be negligible, 3,924 tonnes in 1980.

With a population of only 3.2 million in 1980, Ireland consumed 12,000 tonnes of soy oil or 3.75 kg per capita, the second lowest amount in the EEC. Yet Ireland had the largest per capita consumption of butter, and very low margarine consumption.

Interest in low-technology soyfoods began in the early 1980s, when Jane O'Brien started teaching and writing about these foods in Dublin, as did the macrobiotic East West Center and the Golden Dawn Restaurant, which served soyfoods in some recipes.


Italy has been slow to adopt widespread use of soy oil and soy protein foods, but much interesting research and development work has been done.

1597-1899 . The earliest known reference to soybeans or soyfoods was by an Italian, which is not surprising when it is recalled that Italians were among Europe's foremost early navigators, starting in the late 1400s. In 1597 the Florentine Francesco Carletti, who was very interested in Japanese cookery, visited Nagasaki, Japan, and mentioned miso (he spelled it misol) in his memoirs. Then in 1665 the Italian Friar Domingo Navarrete described tofu in China and Japan.

In 1824 the Italian botanist Savi gave a Japanese soybean the scientific name Soja japonica , then in 1832 he renamed it Soja viridis .

According to Pinolini (1905) the soybean was first grown in Italy in 1840 near Verona, on the Lombard Coast of Lake Maggiore, near Mantova, and near Lucchese. It was cultivated more as an ornamental and curiosity than as an agricultural plant. In about 1850 Professor Inzenga did some experiments on soybean cultivation, publishing his results in the Annali dell' Agricoltura Siciliana in 1857 (Ref?? Pinolini 05??). He concluded that "The soybean is disgusting and absolutely no use as a bean (to eat), nor is it of any worth as an oilseed." A professor Berti-Pichat in his Tratatto di Agricoltura ("Treatise on Agriculture") of the 1860s??, stated that the soybean was then known by either its scientific name ( Dolichos soia ) or as fagiulo da caffe ^, meaning "coffee bean." Thus the soybean was probably first used as food in Italy as a coffee substitute. In 1878 the Austrian soybean agronomist Haberlandt reported that in 1877 he had been sent a sample of a soybean plant from Tirol, where it had long been grown and was known as the "coffee bean." From 1880 the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce worked to encourage soybean cultivation in various parts of Italy. They distributed seeds and information, but little came of their efforts. In 1886 Giammaria wrote about soybeans and their uses. In 1894 de Negri and Fabris published the first Italian report on soy oil--first in Italian, then in German.

1900-1919. In 1905 Pinolini published an outstanding 3-page article "Della Soia," summarizing the early history and present status of soybeans in Italy. He noted that black soybeans were then being used to make soy coffee. In 1905 Giornale di Agricoltura lamented that the soybean had not yet caught on in Italy, noting that it was becoming popular in France (Pinolini 1905). In 1907 Ruata and Testoni wrote a 20-page article on "The Soybean as an Italian Foodstuff," expressing their belief that it looked promising in the Italian diet, especially as a supplement to corn. They gave data on soybean culture, analyses of seeds, plus descriptions and Japanese analyses of miso, tofu, and shoyu, and thoughts on the use of soybeans as a breadstuff and in polenta or porridge.

In 1908, the year the soybean import boom began, Italy imported 4,140 tonnes from Manchuria (Li and Grandvoinnet 1912). The interest was apparently short-lived, for no other import statistics are available until the late 1920s. In 1909 the American Carson reported that the small amount of soybeans imported to Italy to date had been used as a food, in some cases as a coffee substitute. By 1910 the seed company of Dammann & Co. in Naples was selling soybeans in its catalog. In 1910-11 a presentation of numerous soyfoods was organized at an Exhibition in Turin, probably by the French soyfoods pioneer Li Yu-ying. In 1912 Settimi wrote Italy's second report on soy oil. Little is known of the use of soyfoods in Italy during World War I. In 1919 Morse of the USA wrote that although the soybean had been grown only to a limited extent in Europe, Italy was one of the four countries having shown the greatest interest in its cultivation.

1920-1939 . In the period between the two wars, considerable work was done with soyfoods in Italy. In 1921 Muggia and Gasca reported on their studies feeding infants with soymilk, in part to treat gastro-intestinal illnesses. In 1923 Fulvio Bottari wrote Italy's first major book on soybeans and soyfoods, a 243-page work titled Soy in History, in Agriculture, and in Food and Industrial Applications ( La soja nella storia, nell'agricoltura e nelle applicazioni alimentari ed industriali ). Also in 1923 Piper and Morse reported that soybeans were grown sparingly in the compartments of Liguria, Emilia, Marches, and near Naples. In no part of Italy did it seem to be a crop of prime importance. In 1924 Loreti reported on pediatric applications of soymilk. Then in 1927 the Commission for the Study of Soya, established by the Italian Ministry of War, published a 75-page article in the Giornale di Medicina Militare on soyfoods, including soy flour, soy bread, nutritional experiments, and the results of feeding Berczeller soy flour to humans (Ref??). Also in 1927 Costa discussed the use of soy flour in bread making in Italy, and reviewed efforts to promote soy in Italy for national feeding programs. The same year, Venturi wrote about soyfoods and their nutritional value.

One of Italy's leading promoters of soyfoods during this period was Prof. Virgillo Ducceschi of the University of Padova, whose research was, in part, supported by the Ministry of War's Commission for the Study of Soya, noted above. In 1927 he published his research on the nutritive value of wheat bread fortified with soy flour. Then in 1928 he published a major 246-page book titled Soy and the National Dietary ( La Soja e l'alimentazione Nazionale ), containing extensive information on soyfoods nutrition, use of soy flour in Italian pasta products, soymilk and tofu ( formaggio di soja ), fermented soyfoods such as soy sauce, medical applications as in diabetes and infant intolerance to cow's milk, and the economic value of soyfoods. The book concluded with a bibliography of 120 European works on soybeans and soyfoods published prior to 1928. Ducceschi strongly encouraged the fortification of Italian bread with 10% soy flour as a source of high quality, low cost protein. Also in 1928 Poggi wrote a 50-page manual of practical soybean cultivation.

The Austro-Hungarian soyfoods pioneer L. Berczeller visited Mussolini in Italy in 1929. Mussolini, dictator since 1922, declared his intention of introducing legislation to require the use of soy flour in the manufacture of Polenta (the corn/maize staple food) and of bread ( Food Manufacture 1929). In 1936 the Englishman Kale reported that Mussolini had founded a Soya Research Institute and that soy flour was then being added to the rations of the armies. Breads containing 15-20% soy flour were under orders from the Italian government. In 1934 Ligori wrote about the nutritional value of soybeans, which were found to be deficient in vitamins A and D, and in some minerals.

Italy was importing soybeans again by 1927 (60,000 tonnes), and these imports reached a high of 87,000 tones in 1929, then fell to an average of 22,500 tonnes during the 1930s, a relatively low figure. From net imports of soy oil and soybeans, Italy had a total apparent consumption of 7,700 tonnes in 1929-33 and 5,000 tonnes in 1934-38; total apparent consumption of soybean cake for the two periods was 26,500 tonnes and 11,700 tonnes respectively.

1940-1959 . Little is known about the use of soyfoods in Italy during World War II, although it may be assumed from the work done with soy flour by the Ministry of War during the 1920s and 1930s, that soy flour was used extensively by both the military and civilians.

The earliest known statistics on soybean production in Italy show a high of 2,900 tonnes being produced in 1948, falling to 1.4 tonnes in 1949, then steadily declining to 0.4 tonnes in 1956. No data are available from that time into the 1980s.

During the 1950s Italy imported only a small amount of soybeans, however by 1950 the country had become a fairly large importer of soy oil, bringing in 17,500 tonnes that year, increasing to 33,000 tonnes in 1959, at which time Italy was second only to Spain as a soy oil importer in Western Europe. Gradually lower cost soy oil began to replace the traditional favorite, olive oil. Italy preferred its oils in liquid form, and a 1957 survey showed that Italy had the lowest annual per capita consumption of margarine (made from any type of oil) of any country in Europe (0.59 kg or 1.3 lb per person).

1960-1983. During this period Italian soybean imports grew dramatically, from a mere 58,000 tonnes in 1959 to 840,000 tonnes in 1970 and 1,400,000 tonnes in 1980, at which time Italy was Western Europe's fourth largest soybean importer, after West Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. During the 1960s soy oil imports plummeted to an average of less than 10,000 tonnes as soybean imports grew, but by 1974 they had reached a peak of 130,000 tonnes (at this time Italy was Western Europe's largest soy oil importer), then they fell to 70,000 tonnes in 1980, as soybean imports continued to grow.

In 1980 Italy, with a population of 56.8 million (the second largest in Western Europe), consumed 300,000 tonnes of soy oil (the second largest in Europe) giving a per capita annual consumption of 5.28 kg (fifth largest, and slightly below the average). Italians had by far the highest per capita consumption of liquid oils and fats in Europe (22.7 kg), but very low butter and margarine consumption.

Starting in the 1980s the soyfoods/soycrafters movement and the macrobiotic movement began to introduce low-technology soyfoods to Italy. By 1982 there were four tofu shops, with pioneering tofu and tempeh work being done by Gilberto Bianchini in Rimini. Satori, a macrobiotic distributor in Italy, distributed soyfoods. Verena Krieger (1981) in Switzerland wrote an article on soyfoods titled "Yesterday Steak, Tomorrow Tofu" ("Ieri la bistecca, domini il tofu") that was published in Italian. We feel that tofu has great potential in Italy, where it could be used like Ricotta or other traditional cheeses (which are more expensive) in lasagne, pizza, manicotti, spaghetti, ravioli, cannelloni, and other popular Italian dishes.

Also, as of 1981, there was a rising interest in growing soybeans in the northeastern regions of Italy (Bunting 1981), but actual production was still negligible.


1668-1899 . During the 1600s the Dutch republic rose to naval and economic prominence in Europe. This allowed the Dutch to study soyfoods abroad and to ship soy sauce. According to Ichiyama (1968), early shipping records from the Hague show that in 1668 twelve kegs of shoyu were shipped from Japan to Coromandel Coast of southeast India. In 1760 shoyu was shipped to Ceylon (today's Sri Lanka), which was under Dutch control until 1796, when it was seized by Britain. Numerous other shipments, apparently on Dutch ships, were made during the late 1600s to India, Ceylon, and Vietnam. In 1670 Dutch traders?? began to export Japanese shoyu to the French court, where Louis XIV (1643-1717) served this expensive seasoning at his sumptuous palace banquets (Tamura and Hirano 1971).

Dutch botanists took an early interest in the soybean. Rumphius described and illustrated the soybean plant in Amboina (today's Ambon in Indonesia) between 1653 and 1670, but his classic work, Herbarium Amboinense , was unfortunately not published until 1747. Paul Hermann, who collected plants in Ceylon, gave a brief description of the soybean in his Musaeum Zeylanicum , published in 1726.

The earliest known record of a soybean having been grown in Europe appeared in the Hortus Cliffortianus , published in 1737 by the great Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. In it he described soybeans grown in the garden of George Clifford at Hartecamp, Netherlands.

In 1791 (or 1824??) Isaac Titsing, writing in Dutch, gave a detailed description of how soy sauce was made in Indonesia, the colony called the Dutch (or Netherlands) East Indies.

In 1875 the Dutch lexicographers Gericke and Roorda, in their Javanese-Dutch Dictionary titled Javaansch-Nederduitsch Handwoordenboek , made the world's earliest known reference to tempeh, an Indonesian fermented soyfood (see Chapter 35).

The first culture trials and varietal tests with soybeans in the Netherlands took place in 1877, when Haberlandt in Austria-Hungary sent some soybeans to a cooperator in Holland.

In 1895 H.C. Prinsen-Geerligs, a Dutch scientist working in the Dutch East Indies, wrote a remarkable article titled "Eenige Chineesche voedingsmiddelen uit Sojaboonen bereid" ("Some Chinese Foods Made with Soybeans") in which he gave some of the earliest and best descriptions of tempeh, okara, tofu, soymilk, Chinese and Indonesian misos, and soy sauce. It also contained nutritional/chemical analyses of three types of soybeans, tofu, soymilk, miso, and soy sauce, plus details of manufacturing methods. The highly influential article was translated into German in 1896. Prinsen-Geerligs' colleague F.A. Went also did work on fermented soyfoods. The earliest known soyfood made in the Netherlands was a soy and wheat flour blend, made in Amsterdam from about 1891 (Piper and Morse 1916). It was probably made for use in diabetic diets, for after 1900 the Netherlands began importing soybeans and making many special diabetic foods (Piper and Morse 1923).

1900-1939 . In 1900 P.A. Boorsma wrote an excellent 13-page review of the literature on soybeans and soyfoods, citing 12 key sources and giving details on Japanese soyfoods (shoyu, tofu, yuba, miso, natto) and Indonesian soyfoods (tempeh, soy sauce, regular and firm tofu, and taucho or miso). His discussion of tempeh (he called it tempe kedeleh ) contained a great deal of new information and was the most detailed to date in any language. Senior Dutch authors of other early publications on tempeh include Vorderman (1902), Heyne (1913), Prinsen Geerligs (1917), Jansen (1923, 1924), Ochse (1931), and van Veen (1932-73), Mertens (1933), Amar (935), and Burkill (1935). In 1917 soymilk was first patented in the Netherlands by Goessel.

But the main event of the early 1900s was the beginning of large-scale imports of soybeans to the Netherlands, mainly from Manchuria, to be crushed for oil and meal. In 1908, the year the import boom started, the Netherlands imported 7,290 tonnes of soybeans (Li and Grandvoinnet 1912). Imports for 1911 to 1913 were 26,300, 42,900, and 27,400 tonnes, while the tonnage crushed those 3 years was l4,400, 26,500, and 13,600 tonnes (USTC 1920), which was about fourth in Europe. Imports continued in 1914 (19,600 tonnes) and 1915 (16,500 tonnes), then stopped during the war.

Starting in about 1910 tests were done by De Vries and others (Refs??) showing that the meal was of good quality for use as a protein source in milk or beef production. The country also imported 24,000 tonnes of soybean cake, being the largest importer in Europe, for use in mixed feeds for its dairy industry. Substantial quantities of soy oil were also imported. These were used both in soap and, increasingly, in margarine. From 1874 until 1891 (when she was passed by Germany), the Netherlands had been the world's leading margarine manufacturer; the firms of Jurgens and Van den Bergh were already famous worldwide (see Chapter 43).

Soybean imports continued strong during the 1920s and 1930s, and in 1935 the Netherlands was Europe's fourth largest soybean importer after Germany, Denmark, and Britain, as well as Europe's third largest consumer of soy oil and fourth largest of meal. During the late 1920s a book about soybeans and Berczeller's soy flour was published in Dutch; the author is unknown?? A revised translation from the Dutch into English by Ferree in 1929 was widely read. By 1930 Berczeller's soy flour was being manufactured in the Netherlands. In 1936 Kale (an Englishman) reported that there was a soymilk plant in the Netherlands at that time, and in 1937 Lanzing and van Veen published important soymilk research in Dutch.

1940-1959 . Because of its long and firm ties with its former colony, Indonesia, the world's only major tempeh-manufacturing country, the Netherlands has always had the greatest interest among European nations in this fermented soyfood. The earliest known tempeh shop in Europe (or in the Western world) was started in 1946. Named ENTI (which stands for Eerste Nederlandse Tempeh Industrie or "First Dutch Tempeh Industry"), it was founded by a Dutch-Indonesian?? woman in Zevenhuizen?? Another small, noncommercial shop was started by a Dutch-Indonesian sailor in 1949; in 1969 it was sold to Robert van Dappern, who built it into van Dappern B.V., Europe's largest tempeh plant. After the Netherlands granted Indonesia independence in 1949, some 200,000 Indonesians emigrated to the Netherlands, creating a large new market for tempeh, tofu, and other traditional Indonesian soyfoods. Research on tempeh was also stimulated. Reports in Dutch or by Dutch authors during the 1940s and 1950s were written by Roelofsen (1946), Tammes (1950), and Autret and van Veen (1955). In 1958 Tan wrote a PhD dissertation on soymilk.

Imports increased rapidly after World War II. By 1946 the Netherlands was importing 11,000 tonnes of soybeans; the figure rose to 53,000 tonnes in 1950 then to 220,000 tonnes in 1959, topping the prewar high of 130,000 tonnes in 1940. In 1959 the Netherlands was Europe's second largest soybean importer after Germany. Soy oil imports and exports averaged about 10,000 tonnes during the 1950s (this was due to Dutch trading activities) and by 1959 imports of soybean meal had reached 70,000 tonnes. Also during the 1950s the Netherlands was Europe's second leading user (after West Germany) of soy oil in margarine.

1960-1982. Imports continued to increase spectacularly during this period. Between 1960 and 1980, soybean imports rose from 330,000 to 3,500,000 tonnes (number 2 in Europe), while soybean exports reached 300,000 tonnes in 1980 (number 1 in Europe). Soy oil imports grew only slightly from 32,000 to 40,000 tonnes, while soy oil exports jumped from 17,000 to 340,000 tonnes (number 2 in Europe). Meal imports rose from 100,000 to 1,150,000 tonnes (number 3 in Europe).

This rather small country of only 13.9 million people in 1980 consumed a total of 241,000 tonnes of soy oil, or 17.3 kg per capita per year, the highest figure for any European country. The country's soybean crushing capacity, 3.0 million tonnes, was third in Europe after that of West Germany and France. Also by the 1970s the Netherlands was the world's sixth largest margarine producing country and had the fourth highest per capita margarine consumption in Europe, after Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Thio, a researcher from Indonesia, was active in teaching people, especially those in Third World countries, about low-technology soyfoods. In 1972 he wrote about introducing soyfoods to Zambia (Africa), in 1975 he wrote Small-Scale and Home Processing of Soya Beans with Applications and Recipes , a 59-page book published by the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, and in 1979 he spent 3 months teaching tempeh production and recipes in Sri Lanka. By 1982 production of low technology soyfoods in the Netherlands was thriving, with five tempeh plants (including the largest one in Europe) and eight tofu plants.

The macrobiotic movement in the Netherlands, one of the strongest in Europe, played a leading role in introducing soyfoods to the country. Manna, a large natural foods distributor in Amsterdam, was the first to introduce miso, shoyu, tamari, tempeh, tofu, and koji to the larger public, and was the leading promoter of soyfoods as part of a more natural and economic meatless diet. Manna also made tofu, tofu spreads, and tempeh. Sjon Welters of Manna did pioneering work with soyfoods, including giving classes on home-scale preparation of miso, tofu, tempeh, shoyu, tamari, koji, and natto at the East West Center, which also did much to teach others about soyfoods. JAKSO, a macrobiotic community of 12 adults and 7 children on 30 ha of land (headed by Tomas Nelissen, who studied foods in Japan for 7 years) had a soyfoods plant on the land; in late 1982 they made about 315 kg of tempeh and 250 kg of tofu a week. Other small macrobiotic tofu shops included Witte Wonder and De Morgenstond. The Netherlands was the largest importer of Japanese miso in Europe, much of its specially made by traditional, natural methods to meet macrobiotic specifications; 1981 imports were 67.8 tonnes.

In addition the only known producer of soy sprouts in Europe in 1982, Portman Soyfoods, was located in the Netherlands; his main customers were probably Indonesians, who use soy sprouts regularly.

Although it is a small country, the Netherlands promises to play a pioneering role in the future introduction of soyfoods to Europe.


During the early 1920s (1923-25), Norway was importing an average of 7,000 tonnes of soybeans a year and 2,000 tonnes of soy oil (Ferree 1929). The oil was used in margarine and soap, and the meal for livestock fodder.

Soybean imports increased steadily after World War II from 19,000 tonnes in 1950 to 81,000 tonnes in 1960, 182,000 tonnes in 1970, and 330,000 tonnes in 1980. In 1980 imports of soy oil and meal were insignificant.

Nothing is known of work with soyfoods in Norway.


In 1793 Juan de Loureiro (1715-1796), a Portuguese botanist, in his Flora Cochinchinensis , a flora of today's Vietnam, described the soybean plant ( Dolichos soja or Dau-nanh ) and noted that in China and Vietnam soybeans were boiled, roasted, or made into soy sauce or tofu. He apparently tasted some of these foods. Actually, even before this time there must have been Portuguese accounts of soyfoods in Japan, for the Portuguese, famed as sailors, were the first of the Europeans to discover Japan in about 1535 to 1548. An examination of the writings of early Portuguese travelers would probably reveal some very interesting information about soyfoods in Japan.

Probably in part because of the difficulty most English speaking people have in reading Portuguese, very little is known of the history of soybeans and soyfoods in Portugal. Soybean imports became significant at a very late date, in 1969, when 18,000 tonnes were imported. The figure grew to 52,000 tonnes in 1970 then to 190,000 tonnes in 1980, still one of the smallest in Europe. In 1980 imports of soybean meal were 57,300 tonnes, while imports of soy oil were insignificant. A large user of domestically produced olive oil, Portugal does not use much soy oil, although this may change after the country joins the EEC.

Starting in the late 1970s Unimave, a macrobiotic center, began to make tofu and soymilk, and teach classes about soyfoods. Excerpts from The Book of Miso by Shurtleff and Aoyagi were translated into Portuguese and circulated.


Almost nothing is known of the early history of soybeans and soyfoods in Spain. Yet because most of the early great European navigators after 1500 were Spanish or Portuguese, there must be some early Spanish references to soyfoods in East Asia. We hope that some researcher in Spain will pursue this promising lead.

By 1950 the soybean was playing a significant role in Spain, as the country imported an average of 24,000 tonnes a year of soy oil. By 1955 this figure had grown to 31,000 tonnes and Spain had passed West Germany to become Europe's largest soy oil importer. Thereafter soy oil imports skyrocketed, leaping to 185,000 tonnes in 1956 and maintaining this level until 1962; during this period Spain imported more soy oil than all other countries in Europe combined. Thereafter oil imports plummeted, dropping to a mere 1,000 tonnes in 1971, then rebounding to a still low average of about 10,000 tonnes in the late 1970s.

But exactly mirroring the drop in oil imports was a rise in soybean imports, as Spain built its own soybean crushing industry. Soybean imports started in 1962, with 16,000 tonnes, then rose meteorically until by 1966 Spain was Europe's second largest soybean importer (after West Germany), with 540,000 tonnes that year. The figure rose to 1,230,000 tonnes in 1970 and 3,200,000 tonnes in 1980, at which point Spain was in third place, slightly behind West Germany and the Netherlands. Soybean meal imports began in the late 1960s, reaching a relatively low 25,000 tonnes in 1970 then jumping to a peak of 580,000 tonnes in 1976. To stimulate and oversee all these imports, The American Soybean Association opened an office in Madrid in 1976. Still, olive oil remained the major oil in Spain.

With these huge and growing imports, Spain began in 1970 to start growing its own soybeans. From 3,000 tonnes that year, production climbed to a peak of 30,000 tonnes in 1974, at which time Spain was third in Europe (after Romania and Bulgaria) and first in Western Europe in soybean production. But by 1981 production had fallen to only 6,000 tonnes, since it was found that the soybeans could be imported less expensively than they could be grown at home. With a population of 37.9 million in 1981, the fifth largest in Europe, Spain offers a large potential market for soybeans and products, and a soybean crushing capacity in 1980 of 3.38 million tonnes that was the third largest in Europe, after West Germany and France.

To date, we know of no activity with low technology soyfoods in Spain.

Little is known about how Spain's entry into the EEC in 198?? will affect the country's trade, production, and use of soybeans.


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