History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Austria and Switzerland (1781-2015)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-77-8

Publication Date: 2015 July 2

Number of References in Bibliography: 1444

Earliest Reference: 1781

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Brief chronology of soy in Austria and Switzerland.
Austria and Switzerland have much in common. Geographically, they share a common border and are on roughly the same latitude – although the southernmost part of Switzerland (at about 46 degrees north latitude) is south of the southernmost part of Austria, and the southern part of both countries is considerable north of areas where soybeans are easily cultivated. Thus, soybeans have never been widely grown in either country.
      German is the main (88%) and official language of Austria, and it is also the main language of Switzerland (65%) but it shares the status of official language with French (18%) and Italian (12%).
      Before 1918, Austria was part of Austria-Hungary, also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was a constitutional union of the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary that existed from 1867 to 1918, when it collapsed as a result of defeat in World War I.
1781 – The earliest known reference to the soybean in connection with Austria is found in Illustrations of Very Rare Plants (Icones Plantarum Rariorum) (in Latin), by Nikolaus Joseph Jacquin. A superb color illustration (Plate 145) shows the soybean plant, with details of one pod and one seed.
1786 – The earliest known reference (probably) to a soybean growing in Austria is found in a second book by Nikolaus Joseph Jacquin titled Collected Observations on Austrian Botany, Chemistry, and Natural History. 4 vols. (Collectanea ad Botanicam, Chemiam, et Historiam Naturalem Spectantia. 4 v.; see Vol. 1, p. 46-47). According to J. Beckman (1798, p. 345): “Jacquin says expressly that they [soybeans] throve well at Vienna [Austria] in the open air.”
1861 – Soybeans are first cultivated in Switzerland. The soybean of Japan (Soja japonica {Soja du Japon}), a type of bean whose seeds and pods [as green vegetable soybeans] are good to eat. It succeeded very well in the Canton, where Mr. James Fazy has cultivated it successfully for three years in a row at his field in Russin (Viridet 1861, March. P. 80-83).
      Note: Russin is a municipality in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland, at the far southwestern tip of the Canton (46°11' north latitude), reaching deep into France. This latitude is about the same as that of central Maine or southern Minnesota – thus, quite far north for soybeans to bear seeds. Some plants bore 90-132 pods.
1873 – In Austria, at the Vienna World Exposition of 1873, Prof. Friedrich Haberlandt, of the Royal College of Agriculture in Vienna (Wiener Hochschule für Bodencultur), gathered a number of soybean varieties from the Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Transcaucasian and East Indian expositions. He first grew the soybeans in Vienna, then in early 1876 he sent samples of seeds to seven cooperators in central Europe, who planted and tested the seeds in the spring of 1876, with good or fairly good results in each case. Each year, as results of trials were sent to him, he sent soybeans to a growing number of cooperators in central and eastern Europe. In this way the soybean was first cultivated in many countries in that area.
1876 Feb. 26 – The first report of soybean cultivation in Austria is found in an article in the Wiener Landwirthschaftliche Zeitung titled “The Cultivation of the Hirsute Soybean” (Der Anbau der rauhhaarigen Soja oder Sojabohne {Soja hispida Moench}), by Friedrich Haberlandt of Vienna.
1878 – In Austria, Prof. Haberlandt writes (in German) the first book about soybeans in the Western world. Titled The Soybean: Results of Studies and Trials on the Potential for Growing This Newly Introduced Crop Plant (Die Sojabohne: Ergebnisse der Studien und Versuche ueber die Anbauwuerdigkeit dieser neu einzufuehrenden Culturpflanze), it contains detailed results of all the soybean trials that have been conducted under his auspices plus the early history of the soybean starting with Kaempfer, and much more. Unfortunately Prof. Haberlandt died unexpectedly on 1 May 1878 at the young age of 52, shortly after publication of his book; his promising work was discontinued.
      In this book, Prof. Haberlandt mentions that in 1877 he sent 50 yellow and 50 brownish-red soybean seeds to Prof. Anderegg at Chur, in central eastern Switzerland. The seeds were planted on May 20 (somewhat late). The harvest on Oct. 16 was successful. For each seed planted, 91.5 seeds were harvested (see p. 82).
1878 – Prof. Haberlandt of Vienna, in the interest of this new crop plant and its dissemination, gives some private individuals and various canton governments in Switzerland small quantities of seeds for experimental planting in 1879, in places such as: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Glarus, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Aargau, Basel-Land (Baselland), Vaud (Waadt), Tessin (Ticino, canton in Switzerland), and Geneva (Anderegg 1880, Schweizerische Landwirthschaftliche Zeitschrift {"Die Gruene"}).
1879 – In Switzerland, A. Kraemer reported in the Schweizerische Landwirthschaftliche Zeitschrift ("Die Gruene") extraordinarily favorable results from an experiment which he carried out during the past year on private property on the border of the city of Zurich. An average of nearly 33 grams of seeds was obtained from each plant. The yield was on average 205-fold, and with one variety even 303-fold.
1880 Oct. – Auguste Paillieux reports in an article in the Bulletin de la Société d'Acclimatation (p. 590) that he received a letter from M.G. at Donneloye, Switzerland [in Canton Vaud, Bezirk Yverdun, in central western Switzerland] dated 18 Nov. 1880. He planted about 3 kg of soybeans on April 18, 1880. Many of the plants matured (40-50 cm in height) near the end of September and bore seeds. On one plant he counted 80 well-formed pods with 2-3 seeds per pod; the average was 20 to 40 pods per plant.
1883 April – E. Meissl and F. Böcker of Austria publish the earliest known scientific study of the nutritional/chemical composition of the soybean, and of its oil and protein. They introduce (in German) the terms soy casein and soy albumin, and are also the first to state that soybeans contain lecithin.
      A footnote states that they conducted their experiments in early 1880, but for various reasons presentation of the results was delayed until April 1883 (Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe {Wien} 87{Part 1}:372-91).
1883 – The Origin of Cultivated Plants (Origine des plantes cultivées), by Alphonse Candolle (a renowned Swiss botanist from Geneva) has a lengthy discussion of the origin of the soybean (for English-speakers, see 1884 edition published in London). He notes that this “leguminous annual has been cultivated in China and Japan from remote antiquity…” His long discussion is followed by 15 bibliographic references.
1884 – The first person to examine the seeds of the soybean under a microscope and to illustrate and give names to the cellular layers and contents of one cell that he sees is Thomas Frans Hanausek, who writes in German and lives in Krems an der Donau in Lower Austria.
1915 Feb. 1 – An important article titled “The Soybean” (Die Sojabohne), by C. Fruwirth (of Vienna), appears in Fuehlings Landwirtschaftliche Zeitung (p. 65-96).
1916 – The Introduction of the Soybean, a Revolution in the People’s Nutrition (Die Einfuehrung der Soja, eine Umwaelzung der Volksernaehrung), by Maurice Fürstenberg (of Frohnleiten, Steiermark, Austria) is published in Berlin by Paul Parey (30 p.).
1917 – The Soybean: a Cultivated Plant of the Future, and Possibilities for its Utilization (Die Soja: eine Kulturpflanze der Zukunft und ihre Verwertungsmoeglichkeiten), by Maurice Fürstenberg (of Frohnleiten, Steiermark, Austria) is published in Berlin by Paul Parey (40 p.).
1921 Jan. 21 – Ladislaus Berczeller, PhD, of Vienna, Austria-Hungary, is issued a German patent for making soy flour. His new product is the subject of a long article titled “'Manna' for the hungry” in the Times (London) (Sept. 28).
1928 Oct. – Edelsoja (whole soy flour made by the Berczeller process), made by the Oesterreichische Soja-Aktiensgesellschaft in Vienna, is the earliest known commercial soy product made in Austria. It later became world famous.
1929 – The Soybean, Its Significance, Culture, and Utilization (Die Sojabohne, Ihre Bedeutung, Kultur und Verwendung), by Franz A. Brillmayer and Fritz Drahorad is published by the authors in Vienna (62 pages). It is the first significant book about soybeans in Austria since Haberlandt’s classic in 1878.
1932 – Morga AG of Ebnat-Kappel, Switzerland, starts to sell soy flour and to make Zipania, a Substitute for Marzipan as a Sweet Filling for Baked Goods. The original owner was Ernst Lieberherr, who acted as a consultant to the milling company Neumuehle Töss" and developed a soy flour together with them. To this day, Neumuehle has been supplying Morga with soy flour and Morga is making their products out of it.
1938 – In Switzerland, A Little Soybean Primer. History, Culture, and Utilization of a Unique Useful Plant (Kleine Soja-Fibel. Geschichte, Anbau und Verwertung einer einzigartigen Nutzpflanze), by Dr. Hans Balzli is published in Zurich and Leipzig by Albert Mueller Verlag (88 pages).
1941 Sept. 24 – The Swiss Illustrated Newspaper (Schweitzer Illustrierte Zeitung) contains an article about growing soybeans in Switzerland, which includes several photos of beautiful soybean farms in German-speaking Switzerland.
1941 Sept. – Dr. Jean Balzli writes a regular column titled “The soybean around the world: (Le soja à travers le monde) in Revue Internationale du Soja, the earliest French periodical devoted to soybeans. In many of these columns he mentions activities in Switzerland, where he has many friends and correspondents. In this particular issue, for example, he states (in French): But it is in Switzerland that we find the record number of companies making soyfoods. Each of these is named and described. (1) The house of Morga S.A., of Ebnat-Kappel (near Saint-Gall), headed by M.E. Lieberherr, who was Swiss consul in East Asia. (2) The large firm of Conservenfabrik Lenzburg, of Lenzburg (between Zurich and Berne), client of the house of Morga S.A., sells a delicious spread named "Hero-Soto" composed of tomato puree thickened with soybean puree.
      Balzli continues: Of the numerous creations of the house of Morga S.A., I will mention only the main ones: defatted soy flour; several soy spreads; soy-based flour patties; soy-based breadcrumbs; soy flakes; soy bouillon tablets; soy condiments; soy-based noodles, spaghetti and small pieces of pasta; soups with small pieces of soy-based pasta, and spinach and tomato; soy-based biscuits; soy-based puddings; soy chocolate; lunch with soybeans and maltose; soy products for infants and young children. For each soy product, he gives the name in French.
1943 about – The Soybean: Its Culture, Use and Future! (Die Soja: Ihre Kultur, Verwendung, Zukunft!), by Dr. Adolph Hübscher is published by the author in Grenchen, Switzerland (52 pages). Undated.
1944-45 – “The only time when a significant amount of soybeans were grown in Austria was in the last years of World War II, when the crop was cultivated on about 2,400 ha.” (Wolffhardt, D. 1983. “The soybean situation in Austria.” Eurosoya. No. 1. p. 49-50).
1947 – The Cultivation of the Soybean in Austria (Die Kultur der Soja in Oesterreich), by Franz A. Brillmayer is published in Vienna by Scholle-Verlag (97 p.). It contains a great deal of interesting historical information about soybeans in Europe.
1947 – The Significance of the Soybean for the Nutrition of Austria (Die Bedeutung der Soja fuer die Ernaehrung Oesterreichs), by Franz A. Brillmayer is published in Vienna by Wilhelm Frick Verlag (103 p.).
1964 April – Naga-di, the world’s earliest known enteral tube feeding product, is launched by Nago Nährmittel AG in Olten, Switzerland. The main ingredient is finely pulverized whole soybeans. It is developed for oral and enteral feeding, not for tube feeding.
      In Oct. 1964, it is followed by Naga-Sonda, made by the same company. It is developed for tube feeding. Mr. Heinz Knell of Naga Olten is responsible for the development of both Naga-di and Naga-Sonda.
      In June 1965, these two are followed by Baby Nago (Bébé Nago), a powdered soy-based infant formula.
      In 1971 this company was purchased by Lindt & Sprüngli, which, in 1979 was purchased by Galactina AG.
1973 – Verena Krieger (of Switzerland) lives for a year in Japan, where she gets to know tofu and learns how to make it (Letter from Krieger. 1983 March).
1978 July – Verena Krieger (of Switzerland) attends the foundation meeting of the Soycrafters Association of North America, July 28-30, 1978, Ann Arbor, Michigan. At the time she was working at the natural-foods, vegetarian restaurant It’s Natural, 502 Main St., Evanston (a suburb of Chicago), Illinois 60202. When she and her husband return to her native Switzerland (Lucerne, in June 1979), she takes with her the spirit of the new soyfoods movement in the United States and begins work to introduce soyfoods into the modern Swiss consciousness and Swiss kitchens. She starts by selling tofu kits (with an instruction booklet in German) and writing magazine articles. She also discovers that “Nestlé is helping to finance an almost dormant research project by one of our federal agricultural stations to develop soybean varieties, which grow well in the Swiss (and northern European) climate.” Nestlé is now selling soymilk in Asia. She also discovers that there is a Swiss Soybean Growers Assoc. (Vereinigung schweizerischer Soja-Produzenten; VSSP), established in Nov. 1973 through the efforts of Dipl. agricultural engineer Edgar W. Schweizer.
1980 May – The first tofu and the first miso in Austria are made by Weg der Natur at Merzg. 34, Austria.
1980 – Soyana in Zurich, owned and managed by Walter Dänzer, starts to sell unflavored TVP in chunks or minced. They import the product and repackage it. Walter is a vegetarian.
1981 Aug. 22 – In Switzerland, an excellent article by Verena Krieger titled “Yesterday steak, tomorrow tofu: Or all the things that can be made with one bean” (Gestern Steak, Morgen Tofu: Oder was man mit einer Bohne so alles machen kann) is published in Tages Anzeiger Magazin, the Sunday magazine of a very widely read, respectable and progressive Swiss newspaper. (The article was later published, in a smaller format, in German, French, Italian and Spanish). In each of these editions, on the last page of the article, Soyana, a new soyfoods company in Zurich, runs a small ad (2 x 3 inches).
      “Two months later Swiss national TV did a 30-minute show during prime time on soybeans, using basic information from ‘Das Tofu-Buch’ [the German edition of The Book of Tofu by Shurtleff and Aoyagi] (the book was actually shown and recommended through the channel), at the end of which I was given a few minutes to present a meal of five tofu dishes, tailored to the Swiss palate. Since then tofu has been a favorite child of the medias” (Krieger 1982. Personal Communication, June 14).

      During the next few years, Verena writes more major articles for Swiss magazines, including “A grain for the year 2000” (Une graine pour l’an 2000) (Jan. 1982) and “The thousand talents of tofu” (Die t

ausend Talente von Tofu) (May 1982). Based on her work Fuer Uns Aktuell published two long articles about tofu and soyfoods in June and July, 1982. In most of these articles, all the basic, traditional low technology soyfoods were introduced accompanied by numerous color photographs.
      She also (until 1990) carries on an active correspondence with W. Shurtleff to send him her articles, keep him up to date on new developments with soyfoods in Switzerland, and to answer his many questions.
1981 Sept. 1 – In Switzerland, a new tofu shop named Genossenschaft Sojalade, started as a cooperative and owned by Gernot Schneider, Martin Mueller, Hansruedi Opplinger, and Verena Krieger, begins to make tofu in Ottenbach. It is the first real tofu shop in Switzerland.
      However, La Moisson, a macrobiotic restaurant in Geneva, had tofu (made in the restaurant) on the menu and sold in the adjacent store since 1978.
1981 – In Switzerland, Soy Protein: Food of the Future (Soya-Eiweiss: Nahrung der Zukunft), by A. Walter Dänzer is published in Zurich (84 p.). This book is mainly about TVP, which Dänzer calls Soya Fleisch (Soy-Meat). He imports the product and his company, Soyana, sells it.
1981 – In Switzerland, Galactina AG launches Naga-Sonda, a liquid soy beverage for entero feeding in Tetra Pak. This product, made from whole soybeans, does not contain soy protein isolates.
      By June 1984 Galactina owned a soymilk plant near Sursee that made about 40,000 liters a week of soymilk from whole soybeans, but none of this is for normal, healthy adults.
1982 Feb. 1 – Soyana, founded and owned by Walter Dänzer, starts to make firm tofu in Zurich. “All the workers in our tofu plant are disciples of Sri Chinmoy. They practice their master's teachings to unite the aspiration in the inner world with the dedication in the outer world and thus understand their work as a service which they try to do in a good consciousness – with their heart's love and their mind's vastness. They meditate not only before and after work, but most of the time also at every hour for a few minutes. Therefore, Sri Chinmoy has honored their tofu factory with the name 'The Secrets of Perfection-Flames.' Sri Chinmoy has shown unending concern to the soy world. He is the only spiritual master who has spoken at length on how God feels about His soybean.” (Interview. 1983 March 17).
      By Nov. 1983 Soyana is Switzerland’s largest tofu maker, producing about 6,000 lb/week (2,727 kg/week) of very firm tofu with 13% protein (Leviton 1983). In Nov. 1983 Soyana introduced Soyana Soy Burgers (Soya Lunen) Soyana Tofu Spreads and Dips (in 5 flavors). Soyana Swiss Herb Tofu, and Soyana Soya Lunch (Firm Tofu Marinated in Soy Sauce & Herbs).
1982 – In Switzerland, Tofu, Invitation to the Land of Cockaigne (Tofu, l'Invitation au Pays de Cocagne), by A. Walter Dänzer is published in Zurich (107 p.).
      That same year, Dänzer published a second book about tofu titled Tofu: Invitation to the Land of Plenty (Tofu, die Einladung ins Schlaraffenland) (97 p.).
1984 June – Migros, Switzerland's largest supermarket chain, launches Tofu Nature, its own brand of tofu, made at Conserves Estavayer S.A., with widespread publicity and excellent product information on both tofu and soybeans. It is sold in the same section as dairy products and eggs. The launch is considered a great success; supply is not able to catch up with demand until late December.
1984 Nov. – Galactina AG, a large and respected Swiss manufacturer of dietetic and pharmaceutical products (enteroform soy drinks) since 1969, starts test marketing tofu in Swiss supermarkets. The tofu is pasteurized for a 6-week shelf life. An attractive recipe booklet is attached to each packet, which is pasteurized for a 6-week shelf life. The product soon starts selling commercially. Galactina is the first company in Switzerland to sell tofu in supermarkets.
1984 – Conserves Estavayer S.A. starts to sell tofu and 3 second-generation tofu products at Migros supermarkets. The former company is owned by the latter.
1985 – Galactina AG, of Belp Switzerland, introduces an entirely new tofu-type product – developed to win over even the most die-hard skeptics! It is made for Galactina with the Co-op brand by PLL in Lausanne from soy protein isolates. It is flavored, as firm as sausage, and sold in the same shape containers as sausage, and is accompanied by stylish color graphics.
      In 1987 Galactina introduces the same products in 1 kg (2.2 lb) packages for catering, plus a tofu spread (Peter Speck. 1988. Personal communication. March 11).
1985 – In Switzerland, Soyana Soyadrink [soymilk] in 5 flavors is launched. The product is sold in Reform Houses and health food shops. Their plant, purchased from Alfa-Laval, has a capacity of 1,000 liters/hour. The soymilk is packaged by another company. This is the first soymilk ever made in Switzerland.
1986 – In Switzerland, Soyana launches Soy Yogurt (Soyana Dahi gesaeuerter Soya-Dessert) in 5 flavors. Since they can’t call it “yogurt” they use instead the Indian word for yogurt or curd, dahi.
1987 – Soyana introduces tofu sausage (Soyana Soyani). This soon becomes one of the company’s best-selling products.
1989 – Galactina starts to sell its tofu (1 tofu, 2 bread spreads, and 2 salads) in Switzerland's 500 Reform Houses under the brand name Galaform with the Biona certification symbol; 90-95% of the Swiss Reform Houses are Biona stores with the Biona label.
1990 – Soyana launches Smoked Deli Tofu (Delikatess-Tofu).
1990 – Migros/Conserves-Estavayer is thought to be the biggest tofu maker in Switzerland (but they have only 2 products), followed by Galactina, then Soyana, and PLL/Co-op (Seewer. 1990. Pers. Comm. May 17).
      However Peter Speck (1990) believes that the order is Migros, Galactina, Baer, Soyana, and PLL/Co-op.
1996 March – Switzerland: Novartis (including Novartis Seeds, Ciba Seeds, and Northrup King) is formed in by the Merger of Sandoz AG and Ciba-Geigy (both based in Basel, Switzerland).
      Only Pioneer Hi-Bred International is a larger seed company worldwide than Novartis Seeds.


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