History of Soy Protein Concentrates, Isolates, and Textured Soy Protein Products

A Special Report on The History of Soy Oil, Soybean Meal, & Modern Soy Protein Products

A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and Soyfoods: 1100 B.C. to the 1980s

by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi

This group of modern soy protein products, which became popular in the US and other industrialized countries starting in the 1960s, actually has a surprisingly long history. By using large-scale expensive technology and complex, sophisticated food processing techniques, food scientists have developed methods for extracting the proteins from defatted soybean meal and transforming them into a number of highly processed, concentrated, and refined food products.

Soy Protein Concentrates, produced by removing the oil and most of the soluble sugars from defatted soybean meal, come in the form of a white powder containing 65-90% protein (average 70%), plus most of the soybeans vitamins, minerals, and finely pulverized dietary fiber (okara).

Soy Protein Isolates, also called isolated soy proteins, are essentially soy protein concentrates minus almost all their dietary fiber. This very bland, white powder contains at least 90% protein.

Textured Soy Protein Products are made by texturizing concentrates, isolates, or defatted soy flour. There are three main types:Textured Soy Flour (TSF), is made by extrusion cooking soy flour. Note that TVP is an Archer Daniels Midland trademark for this product. It is also sometimes called "soy granules," "extruded soy protein," or "extruded soy flour." Formerly, it was sometimes (inaccurately) called "Textured Soy protein.Spun Protein Fibers (SPF), made by spinning a thick soy protein isolate solution into slender monofilaments.Textured Soy Concentrates (TSC), made by steam extrusion of soy protein concentrates to give small textured granules.By adding flavoring and coloring agents to these textured products, which already have much the same fibrous and chewy texture of meat, food technologists have been able to extend traditional meat and seafood products, and create new "meat analogs," in remarkably good imitation of chicken, bacon, ham, sausage, and beef.