History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland (1737-2015)

William Shurtleff. Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-80-8

Publication Date: 2015 Aug. 22

Number of References in Bibliography: 1151

Earliest Reference: 1737

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Brief chronology/timeline of soy in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland (Scandinavia).
The word “Scandinavia” is commonly used to refer to Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The term “Nordic countries” is used unambiguously for Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, including their associated territories (Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands). Scandinavia can thus be considered a subset of the Nordic countries.
Of these countries Sweden has been (by far) the most active with soy, followed by Denmark, then Norway and Finland.
1731 – The Swedish East India Company is founded. It is the Swedish counterpart of the East India Company (British), Dutch East India Co. (VOC), etc.
1737 – In Europe, soybeans are first cultivated at Clifford’s Garden (Hortus Cliffortianus) in Hartecamp, the Netherlands, as described that year in a book by Carolus Linnaeus (of Sweden) in Latin.
1753 – In Species Plantarum (Vol. II, p. 725-27), Linnaeus (in Latin) gives the soybean its first scientific names Phaseolus max and Dolichos soja. One is a mistake.
1757 – Per Osbeck, in a Diary of a Voyage to the East Indies in the Years 1750, 1751, 1752, mentions the soybean. An English translation is published in 1771.
1764 March – “On Chinese Soy Sauce,” by Karl Gustav Ekeberg is published in the Kongliga Vetenskaps Academiens Handlingar (Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences, New Series, Stockholm). It is a detailed description of how the Chinese make soy sauce, written with the intent that Europeans would start making it themselves.
1767 or before – Soybeans are first grown in Sweden by the great botanist Carolus Linnaeus. His soybeans probably came from Clifford’s Garden in the Netherlands (C.V. Piper, C.V. 1914. “The name of the soy bean: A chapter in its botanical history”).
1784 – Karl Peter Thunberg (of Sweden), in his book The Flora of Japan, Setting Forth the Plants of the Japanese Islands, mentions the soybean on pages 279, 282-83, 377-78. After Englebert Kaempfer, the first botanist to visit Japan was Thunberg.
1803 – “Method of preparing the Chinese soy,” by Michael af Grubbens, is published in the Kongliga Vetenskaps Academiens nya Handlingar (Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences, New Series, Stockholm). It is soon published in English in several British journals.
1823 – Soybeans are first grown in Norway in the botanical garden of the Royal Frederick University.
1840 – Soybeans are first printed in a seed list in Oslo, Norway in the botanical garden at Christianiensis (today’s Oslo).
1909 March – Experiments feeding soybean cake and meal to cows begin in Sweden, under the guidance of Nils Hansson. The results of his research are published in April in Centralanstalten for Jordbruksforsok, Flygblad (Stockholm). In Sept. of that same year he publishes a much longer article (51 pages) on the same subject in Meddelande fran Centralanstalten for Foersoeksvaesendet pa Jordbruksomradet (Stockholm).
1909 June 21 – An article in Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter begins: "Once in a long while an event occurs in the industrial world to change, and sometimes even to revolutionize the set order of things... The latest event to attract prominent attention has been the introduction in an extensive way has been the introduction of the soya bean to the markets of Europe."
      Within the last 6 months "there have been shipped to the United Kingdom, to Scandinavia, and to Germany upwards of 400,000 tons of the soya bean, which have been converted into oil, and from oil into soap, and the cake has found a useful place in the fodder markets of these countries.”
1909 – Sweden begins to import small quantities of soybeans, starting with 25 long tons, decreasing to 24 long tons in 1910 and 1911 (Capone & Grinenco 1923, p. 101). However Fruwirth says that by 1915 Sweden is a major importer of soybeans.
1910 – Denmark begins to import soybeans, starting with 19,696 long tons, increasing steadily to 103,093 tons in 1915, dropping to zero in 1918 during World War I, then rising after the war to 71,394 tons in 1919 and 78,246 tons in 1922. Throughout this period, soya beans are Denmark's leading oilseed import (Capone & Grinenco 1923, p. 22).
1935 – In the mid-1930s soybean experiments are initiated on a small scale in Sweden with the object of producing varieties suitable for home cultivation. When World War II breaks out, no varieties suitable for Swedish conditions have yet been bred (Hastadius 1949).
1936 May – Soybeans are first cultivated in Finland. (Pohjakallio, Onni. 1945. Soijapavusta (Glycine hispida Max.).
1938 – Sven A. Holmberg studies soybean breeding in the USA. In 1939-40 he makes his first expedition to Japan and Sakhalin. In the severely cold climate of the Hokkaido islands he finds soybean types which he considered valuable for breeding in Sweden (Soybean News. 1982. April, p. 4)
1940 – Sven Holmberg apparently first brings soybeans to Sweden and thereafter begins an intensive 15-year breeding program (Holmberg, S. 1955. Soybean Digest. Nov. p. 18, 20).
      In 1940 some 20 ha of soybeans are harvested in Sweden, followed by 40 ha in 1942 (Lööf, Bengt. 1960. Field Crop Abstracts).
1946 – Sven A. Holmberg of Sweden publishes his earliest known article about soybeans, Från sojaväxtförädlingen vid Fiskeby [Soybean breeding at Fiskeby] in Kunglinga Lantbruksakademiens Tidskrift (J. of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture). He has bred new varieties that mature / ripen earlier in southern Sweden (58° north latitude) than has ever been the case before. These varieties will change the areas where soybeans are grown at northern latitudes worldwide, but especially in eastern Canada and Europe.
      This article is summarized in English as “Sweden hunts for varieties” in Soybean Digest. 1947. March. p. 18.
1951 – Postwar oilseeds in Norway: Of the total vegetable oils consumed in Norway, 18,650 tons is coconut oil, 9,050 tons is linseed oil, 4,150 tons is soybean oil, and 3,650 tons is peanut oil.
      "Imports of oil-bearing materials includes 31,788 tons of copra, 28,063 tons of flaxseed, 22,517 tons of soybeans, and 9,039 tons of peanuts" (USDA Foreign Crops and Markets).
1962 – Import of soybeans to Denmark increases to 374,000 metric tons in 1962 from 302,000 metric tons in 1961 (Sondergard, E. 1962. Soybean Digest. May. p. 48.
1967 June – Tetra Pak, the world-famous Swedish food packaging company, has started doing research on soy (Tropical Products Institute Report, No. G31).
1967 – Yeo’s Soyabean Drink, made by Yeo Hiap Seng Ltd. in Singapore, is the world’s first commercial soymilk product to be sold in aseptic (UHT) Tetra Pak cartons. Each carton is shaped like a tetrahedron / pyramid and can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration.
1967 – Nutana Helsekost, a Seventh-day Adventist vegetarian food manufacturing company located in Denmark, launches its first soy products – Nutana Beeflike Slices and Chickenlike slices. Nutana also distributes these products throughout Scandinavia.
1969 – Vitalia introduces Soy Flour and Whole Soy Flour - the earliest known commercial soy products made in Norway.
1971 – Alfa-Laval, the famous Swedish food equipment company, has started doing research on soy (soy protein isolates) (De, Sasanka S. 1971. “Technology of production of edible flours and protein products from soybean.” FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No. 11).
1972 June –Semper AB (of Stockholm) introduces Soja Semp – a powdered infant formula based on soy protein isolate. This is Sweden’s earliest known commercial soy product.
      In 1975 the company launches a concentrated version of the same product.
1972 July – Alfa-Laval is now “experimenting with soya milk to improve its qualities” (Food Engineering, p. 121).
1973 – “Soybeans for cool temperate climates,” by Sven A. Holmberg is published in English in Agri Hortique Genetica (Sweden). In this, is one of his most interesting, influential and original articles, the soybean variety Fiskeby V is discussed.
      Fiskeby V appears to have first appeared in the literature in about 1971.
1976 – Ted Nordquist, soyfoods pioneer of Swedish ancestry now living in California, begins his work with soy by making and selling a tofu kit. By late Nov. 1979 he is in Örsundsbro, Sweden, working with Tim Öhlund, a businessman named Gunnar, and a Korean Professor named Kim to start a new company to make soyfoods.
1981 Feb. – Aros Sojaprodukter KB in Örsundsbro, Sweden (near Uppsala) starts making tofu on a commercial scale (Ted Nordquist, form filled out, 1984). Small-scale production probably started a year earlier (Nordquist 2015). This is the earliest known company in Scandinavia to make tofu.
1981Tofu-Boken [The Tofu Book], by Ted Nordquist and Tim Öhlund is published in Örsundsbro, Sweden by Aros Sojaprodukter. It is Sweden’s first book about tofu.
1982 Feb. – Malvabo, a company started and owned by Tim Öhlund in Malvabo, Sweden, starts to sell Malvabo Barley Miso, and Malvabo Rice Miso. Tim makes all the koji and miso himself. This is the first commercial miso ever made in Scandinavia. However miso had previously been imported to Sweden from Japan and from Lima in Belgium. Tim is a partner with Ted Nordquist in Aros Sojaprodukter.
1984 Oct. – Aros Tempeh is first made and sold commercially by Tim Öhlund of Aros Sojaprodukter. This is the first commercial tempeh ever sold in Scandinavia.
1987 March – Aros Sojaprodukter launches the first of its “Tofu Line” range of products, a series of 8 tofu entrees.
1988 Nov. – Timoteus Kojiprodukter HB (Handelsbolag), a new company founded by Tim Öhlund in Örsundsbro, introduces a greatly expanded line of miso products.
1990 May – Aros Sojaprodukter launches Tofu Line Glass (Vanilj, Choklad) [Tofu Line Soymilk Ice Cream (Vanilla, or Chocolate)]. This is Scandinavia’s first commercial soy ice cream and the most delicious soy ice cream we have ever tasted. The key is the bland soybase Ted has developed.
      In the spring of 1990 a Swedish national newspaper Aftonbladet published their yearly vanilla ice cream tests for the summer. Someone managed to get the Tofu Line Vanilla Glass entered into this contest and of the six major ice cream companies submitting their best vanilla premium ice creams, Tofu Line Glass came in second, behind Movenpick. It was a sensation for a soybean based frozen dessert and Aros' sales that summer took off!
1990 Dec. 31 – Ted Nordquist sells Aros Sojaprodukter. He now owns one-third of a new corporation named Aros Sojaprodukter AB, of which he is also CEO. He can now work full time developing dairy alternatives made from soymilk. He is trying to find companies to license his new technology and process for making soybase (Personal communication, 25 Feb. 1991).
1991 Jan. 29 – Tetra Pak announces plans to acquire Alfa-Laval for about $2.9 billion. Both companies are from Lund, Sweden (Wall Street Journal, p. A13).
1991 July – Ted Nordquist establishes TAN Industries, Inc, in California. In Aug. 1994 his family joins him in Sonoma, California. In January of 1995, TAN Industries starts packaging and selling soymilk in extended shelf-life refrigerated packaging in the United States.
1991 August – Nutana (in Denmark and Norway) declares bankruptcy (Personal communication. Ted Nordquist, 26 Aug. 1992).
1992 May – Ted Nordquist sells all of his shares in Aros Sojaprodukter AB, his second company in Sweden, since he now lives in the USA.
1993 Jan. 1 – Tetra Pak and Alfa-Laval merge to become to become the Tetra-Laval Group. Within this group is Tetra Laval Food.
1993 April – Fotsis, Pepper, Adlercreutz et al., in an extremely important article, describe the mechanism by which the isoflavones in soybeans inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors, by inhibiting angiogenesis. Herman Adlercreutz is from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

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