History of Modern Soy Protein Ingredients - Isolates, Concentrates, and Textured Soy Protein Products (1911-2016)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-83-9

Publication Date: 2016 Jan. 17

Number of References in Bibliography: 4886

Earliest Reference: 1911

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What are modern soy protein ingredients?
Edible soy proteins are classified according to minimum protein content on a dry (moisture free) basis:
Products                                              Protein Content (%)
Flours and grits                      40-50
Concentrates                               70
Isolates                                       90
Brief chronology/timeline of modern soy protein ingredients for food use.
1911 – Francis J.-G. Beltzer, who does his research in Cochin-China (today’s Vietnam; at the time a colony of France) describes the local production of “vegetable casein” from soybeans (caséine végétale du "soja"). A type of isolated soy protein, its manufacture is an established industry in Cochin-China. Defatted soybean meal from oil presses is ground between millstones with cold water to give a slurry which is filtered to obtain soymilk. The soymilk is heated to boiling, then calcium sulfate is added to precipitate the protein, which is collected (just like tofu curds) on filter cloths. Now, however, the curds are dissolved in diluted soda lye (sodium hydroxide), filtered, precipitated with acetic acid, left to evaporate in the open air, then dried to a yellowish powder at a low temperature, 100 gm of soybeans yield about 25 gm of this "vegetable casein," which has both food and industrial uses. It is used industrially in paints, in dressings or waterproofing for textiles, and as a sizing (coating used to fill the pores) for paper (Beltzer 1911).
      Labbé (1911), of France, finds vegetable albumin (another name for isolated soy protein) to be as readily assimilated as animal albumin.
1921 Oct. – Sadakichi Satow of Japan develops isolated soy proteids for food use.
1930 March 5 – Charles Cone and Earl Brown (of Seattle, Washington) apply for the first two U.S. patents to produce a soy protein particularly for use (in place of casein, a milk protein) in paper sizing and coating (industrial uses). U.S. Patents 1,955,375 and 2,006,229, which are assigned to The Glidden Company (Cleveland, Ohio) are issued on 17 April 1934 and 25 June 1935. This basic research will eventually become the basis for making both industrial and edible soy protein isolate products.
1930s early – Henry Ford's soy researchers Robert Boyer and Edsel Ruddiman develop an experimental soy ice cream at Greenfield Village in Detroit, Michigan. It is based on fresh tofu curds and soy protein isolates. By August 1935 Henry Ford is serving soy ice cream for dessert at VIP and press luncheons held at the Ford Engineering Laboratory in Dearborn.
1932 early – The Glidden Co. begins research on the isolation of protein from soy beans (O’Brien, W.J. 1936. p. 254-57; Adrian Joyce, July 1941. “Brief concerning soybean proteins”).
1934 Dec. 31 – In The Glidden Company’s annual report to shareholders, President Adrian D. Joyce writes that at the company plant in Chicago “there are now being installed facilities and equipment for the manufacture of Lecithin and Soya Protein. These departments will be in production within the next few weeks.”
1935 – “… after a successful operation of a pilot plant, a unit to produce five tons of soy bean protein per day was built in Chicago. This plant was put in successful operation but was unfortunately destroyed in the fall of 1935. As a result of the information obtained from this plant regarding certain engineering features, the engineers of the Glidden Company have re-designed a new unit which has now [May 1936] started in operation.”
      The Glidden Co. now makes three grades of soy protein known as Alpha Protein, Beta Protein, and Gamma Protein. These are used for paper sizing and coating. Glidden worked with the Institute of Paper Chemistry for two years to develop a new and improved paper sizing process. There is a huge potential U.S. demand for these products to replace casein – about 14,500 tons of which are used for paper sizing and another 17,000 tons of which are used for paper coating each year. There is also large potential demand for making paint and glue for plywood and paper (O’Brien, W.J. 1936. p. 254-57; Adrian Joyce, July 1941. “Brief concerning soybean proteins.” Smith, A.K. 1952. Yearbook of Agriculture [USDA], p. 601-06).
1937 Sept. – Betty Monaghan-Watts discovers the whipping ability of soy protein. “Solvent-extracted soybean flour dissolved in water whips to a stiff white foam greatly resembling egg white…” This discovery built an industry using modified soy proteins in place of egg whites; the soy products have some superior characteristics (Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. Sept. p. 1009-11. Newsweek. 1940. Jan 22, p. 30. “Soybean ‘egg whites.’”).
1937 – During this year, the Glidden pilot plant in Chicago “produced 500 pounds per day of alpha protein. From this pilot plant a commercial unit was designed and this plant was erected in 1937 and 1938.” It started with production of 2 tons/day of alpha protein and has now increased output to 7.5 tons/day working 24 hours a day. “In the development of alpha protein it has been found that soybean proteins, particularly the isolated protein (alpha protein) may be used satisfactorily as a substitute for milk casein in practically all of its applications” (Adrian Joyce, July 1941. “Brief concerning soybean proteins”).
1937 – Central Soya Co. develops the first commercial isolated soy protein for use as an adhesive for pigment-coated paper in the paper industry. Called “Alpha” protein it is the first isolated plant protein ever to be manufactured on a commercial scale. Edwin Meyer is the director of research (Soybean Digest. 1959, Dec., p. 14-15).
1938 – Allan K. Smith and Sidney J. Circle of the U.S. Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory (Urbana, Illinois) write two very influential articles in scientific journals about the details of producing soy protein isolates. A now-famous curve in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry shows that the yield of isolates is maximized when the pH of an 8% protein solution is about 4.1 or 4.2.
1938 – Robert Boyer, while employed by the Ford Motor Co. in Detroit, Michigan, develops the first soybean fiber spinning pilot plant, which has a capacity of about 1,000 pounds of soy fiber a day. In 1939 the Ford Motor Co. had a machine to spin soy protein fibers at the World's Fair in New York. Boyer sent the fiber to a mill where 1 part of soy fiber would be blended with 3 parts wool to make sidewall (not seat) upholstery, which got less wear and wouldn't mark like cotton in Ford cars. Henry Ford also had a suit made from soy protein fiber. This fiber was not edible but the soy protein isolate used to make the fiber was edible (Rayon Textile Monthly. 1939. Nov. p. 633-35; Business Week. 1942. Jan. 3, p. 42; Economic Botany. 1954. Dec. p. 291-315).
1939 – The world's earliest known commercial soy protein food ingredient (i.e., one made with soy protein isolates or concentrates) is Albusoy, an enzyme-modified isolated soy protein used as a whipping agent to replace egg whites. It is developed and launched by The Glidden Company’s Soya Products Division. The name “Albusoy” is derived from “soy” + “albumen” (a class of proteins found in egg whites). At the start of World War II it replaces dry egg whites that had been imported in large quantities from China, but had become very expensive. The enzyme is papain (Circle 1958, p. 402; Fischer 1967, p. 36).
1940 July 31 (date application filed) – The term “isolated soybean protein” is first used by Levinson, Julian and Engstrom of The Glidden Co. in U.S. Patent 2,381,407 to refer to its food uses – for foam retention and stabilizing agents in the preparation of confections and food products.
      In Nov. 1946 the term “isolated soy protein” is first used by Fall and Fahs to refer to its food uses – as a candy ingredient.
      In Dec. 1947 the term “isolated soya protein” is first used by Sullivan in the UK.
      In 1958 the term “soy protein isolate” and the term “edible soy protein isolate” are first used by Sidney J. Circle, a pioneer in this field.
      In Feb. 1966 the term “soya protein isolate” is first used by Stoddard in the UK.
      In July 1969 the term “soybean protein isolate” is first used by Schneider.
      In July 1973 the term “protein 90” is first used by J.C. Cowan to refer to a soy protein product that contains at least 90% protein.
1941 May 10 – Robert Boyer, Joseph Crupi, and William T. Atkinson (all of Michigan) apply for the first U.S. patent to produce spun soy protein fiber for use in making textiles (in place of wool; an industrial use). U.S. Patent 2,377,853, which is assigned to the Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, Michigan) is issued on 12 June 1945. This basic research will eventually become the basis for Boyer’s 1954 patent for making spun soy protein fiber for food use.
1942 – Soy Whip, a whipping compound to replace egg albumin, is launched by Central Soya Co. (Fort Wayne, Indiana). It was developed by Lou Sair using isolated soy protein modified with pepsin (Sair 1985).
1943 ca. – The Ford Motor Co. is now making soy milk from isolated soy protein prepared on a small scale at Ford’s Carver Laboratory (Ford News Bureau report. 3 p.). The isolate may be provided by Robert Boyer.
1944 – Soyco, launched by Soybean Products Co. in Chicago, is a hydrolyzed soy protein whipping agent used as an egg white substitute. It is made in Ottawa, Kansas, by Bennett Creamery Co. (Miller, E.S. 1944. American Miller. Dec. p. 40).
1944 – Isolated soy protein produced by alcohol extraction at the Northern Regional Research Lab. (Peoria, Illinois) (Soybean Digest. 1970. Aug., p. 76, with photo).
1945 March – Rich Products Co. (Buffalo, New York) introduces its first soy protein product, Whip Topping (non-dairy) initially based on “Soy Cream” from soy protein isolates, made by a process related to that developed by the Ford Motor Co. Whipping cream and whipped cream are still not available in retail stores due to government restrictions from World War II.
1945 – The term “soy albumen” is coined by Mildred Lager (The Useful Soybean, p. 102) to refer to a new product, greatly improved during the past two years, now used to "replace egg albumen in candy manufacture."
1946 – Borden Co., Whitson Products Div., launches Soyco, a water-soluble "soy albumen whipping agent" (which they apparently purchased). Soy protein whipping agents are now made by 2-3 prominent processors (Soybean Digest. 1948. Jan, p. 16-17).
1947 – Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Soya Products Division, introduces Nutriwhip and Central Soya Co. launches Soy Albumen, both whipping agents based on soy protein (Soybean Blue Book. 1947. p. 73).
1949 – Gunther Products, Inc. is organized in Galesburg, Illinois. Gunther Soy Albumen, their first product, an enzyme-modified isolated soy protein for use as a whipping agent, is launched the same year. The manufacturing process is under license agreement with Central Soya Co. since J.K. Gunther developed the process while working there (Soybean Digest. 1950, Feb. p. 44).
1949 – Central Soya begins research to develop a food grade isolated soy protein (Soybean Digest. Nov., p. 14-15).
1949 – Gelsoy, developed by the Northern Regional Research Lab. (Peoria, Illinois) from alcohol-washed soy flakes, has gel, food whip, and adhesive properties (Soybean Digest. 1970. Aug., p. 75).
1950 – Presto Food Products (of Industry, California) launches Mocha-Mix Coffee Creamer (later renamed Mocha Mix Non-Dairy Creamer), based on soy protein isolates.
1951 – Rich Products Corp. launches Chil-Zert, the first non-dairy frozen dessert (ice cream), based on soy protein.
1951 – Hoffman Products (York, Pennsylvania), Subsidiary of York Barbell Co., launches Bob Hoffman's Hi-Proteen (powder), based on soy protein.
1952 – Rich Products Corp. launches Sundi Whip, a non-dairy fountain topping in a pressurized can, based on soy protein.
1954 June 29 – Robert Boyer, a long-time employee of the Ford Motor Co. and close friend of Henry Ford, is issued U.S. Patent 2,682,466; application filed 6 May 1952. This key patent for making spun soy protein filaments/fibers, starts the high-tech meat alternative industry. Boyer had first applied for this patent on 28 Sept. 1949, but abandoned that application as his ideas expanded and grew clearer.
1954 Nov. – The Glidden Co. (Chicago, Illinois) is now making Promine, an edible isolated soy protein.
      In Nov. 1957 Chemurgic Digest reported (p. 9) that Glidden planned to build a $4 million “edible protein plant” in Indianapolis, Indiana, to produce Promine, which “has been available in limited quantities for the past three years.” This will be “the world's first facility for commercial production of this important soybean derivative.”
1954 – Flash desolventizing minimizes protein denaturation (Soybean Digest. 1970. Aug., p. 75).
1955 – The World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations establishes the Protein Advisory Group (PAG), an autonomous group of experts to aid in policy making (Smith and Phillips. 2000. p. 152).
1956 – Worthington Foods (Worthington, Ohio) launches Instant Soyamel, the world’s first soymilk based on isolated soy protein. It comes in liquid or powdered forms, in plain or malt flavors. It is not an infant formula. The isolate is made by Gunther Products in Galesburg, Illinois (Soybean Blue Book. 1958. p. 88. Alan Buller. 1981). Soy protein isolates soon replace soy flour in most non-dairy infant formulas.
1958 Sept. 1 – The Glidden Company’s Chemurgy division is transferred to Central Soya Co. of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Central Soya will enter into a three-year lease with option to purchase. The Chemurgy facilities consist of soybean processing operations in Chicago and Indianapolis as well as grain storage facilities. Glidden makes edible and industrial soy protein, soya lecithin, soya flour, etc. The edible isolated soy protein was developed by Sidney Circle (Wall Street Journal. July 30, p. 12; New York Times. July 30, p. 18; Associated Press. 1958. July 30; Circle & Johnson 1958, p. 400-01; Frank and Circle 1959, p. 307-13).
1959 Oct. 27 – Wheeler McMillen of chemurgy and Farm Journal fame, delivers a paper titled “Launching a protein satellite” at the dedication, opening and open house of the Central Soya isolate plant at 1825 N. Laramie Ave. in Chicago. Promine brand soy protein isolate is 93% pure protein and “almost tasteless.” Central Soya makes 2 grades of edible soy protein isolate: Promine R is a water-insoluble, spray-dried isoelectric protein. Promine D is made by treating the protein with alkali during the slurrying step and then spray drying. Both products sell for 35 cents a pound in carlot loads. Central Soya also makes an industrial isolate. (Chemical and Engineering News, 1959, Nov. 9, p. 24; Chemurgic Digest. Oct. p. 12).
1959 – Unmodified edible soy protein isolate as a major article of commerce is now available from Central Soya Co., Inc. (Meyer 1967, p. 145; Meyer 1966, p. 97; Circle and Johnson1958).
1959 – Central Soya Co., founded in 1934 (by Dale W. McMillen, age 54, in the depths of the Great Depression), celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
1959 – The world’s first food-grade soy protein concentrates, Promax and Isopro, are introduced by Griffith Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois. Each contains 70% protein on a dry basis.
1960s Overview: Oilseed Proteins and the Protein Gap. Worldwide, there is a growing consensus that Third World countries are facing a "protein crisis," that protein malnutrition is the world's most widespread deficiency disease, and that low-cost oilseed proteins (such as defatted soybean meal and flour) offer the most promising hope for remedying the problem. The leading architect and proponent of this view is Dr. Aaron Altschul of Georgetown University School of Medicine. The United Nations' FAO/WHO/UNICEF Protein Advisory Group, composed of the world's leading authorities in the field, is very active from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, supporting wider use of soy protein products and soyfoods.
1960s Interest in Modern Soy Protein Products. The 1960s put soy protein products in the map. These new products, including soy protein isolates and concentrates, and textured soy protein products, now appear to have major potential in the food systems of all countries.
1960 March – The term “soy protein concentrate” first appears. An entry in the Soybean Blue Book in the section on “Manufacturers and Handlers of Soy Foods” under “Proteins” reads (p. 89): "Chicago, Illinois – Griffith Laboratories, 1415 W. 37th St. Soy protein concentrate."
      In May 1961 Smith and Wolf refer to this same product as “protein concentrate 70,” where the “70” refers to the fact that it contains at least 70% protein on a dry basis. In Feb. 1962 Soybean Digest first refers to it as “concentrated soy protein.” In April 1962 Mustakas et al. first refer to it as “vegetable protein concentrate.” These are the first four terms used to describe this new product in English. “Soy protein concentrate” eventually became the standard.
1961 Sept. 1 – Central Soya Co. exercises its option the purchase the Chemurgy division of the Glidden Co. which it has been operating on a three-year lease that expires Aug. 31. The purchase price is $8,550,000 (Wall Street Journal. 1961. Feb. 23, p. 13)
1961 Sept. 13-15 – A Conference on Soybean Products for Protein in Human Foods is held at the USDA Northern Regional Research Laboratory (Peoria, Illinois). The 106 attendees are mostly PhDs and/or leaders in business, government, and scientific research. Many are pioneers in this field. The proceedings are published in June 1962 (iii + 242 pp.).
1962 Feb. – Central Soya announces plans for a new plant at the company’s Gibson, Illinois, facility to make Promosoy, a new concentrated soy protein food product, containing over 70% protein. Developed at Central Soya’s chemurgy division laboratories in Chicago, Promosoy has been in production there for about a year (under the names Protein 70 or Pro-70), with capacity virtually sold out in recent months (Soybean Digest, 1962. Feb. p. 28; Huge 1962, p. 45-51).
1962 Oct. – Ralston Purina Company’s Special Soy Products Dept. launches Textured Edi-Pro, the world’s first commercial spun soy protein fibers. Most of the fibers are sold to Worthington Foods (Worthington, Ohio) to be used in meat alternatives. These are made under a license from Robert Boyer, the inventor (see U.S. Patent 2,682,466 issued on 29 June 1954; application filed 6 May 1952). In 1960 Robert Boyer joins Ralston Purina as Protein Scientist. He serves in this capacity until his retirement in 1971.
      Also in 1962 Ralston Purina begins to sell spray-dried edible soy protein isolates, named Edi-Pro A and Edi-Pro N.
1963 March 4 – Central Soya Co. announces that it has just completed an expansion program costing more than $1,000,000 at its chemurgy division plant at 1825 N. Laramie Ave. The investment has “resulted in a tripling of the plant’s capacity to produce Promine, a natural food ingredient containing more than 97% pure protein.” The newly expanded plant went into operation last month (Chicago Tribune. March 4, p. B5).
1964 May 11-15 – Mount Fuji international symposium on oilseed protein foods is held at the Mt. Fuji Hotel, Lake Yamanaka, Japan - sponsored by the International Institute of Food Technology. "The 85 technologists participating in the program represented 20 countries and included 30 from Japan and 20 from the United States. An additional 26 technical observers represented the Japanese food industry." "The Mount Fuji symposium was a historic occasion for the advancement of oilseed protein foods, being the first time an international conference was devoted solely to this subject" (Smith, A.K. 1964. Soybean Digest. Aug. p. 18-20.
1965 late – General Mills, Inc. introduces Bac*O's, meatless fried bacon bits made from spun protein fibers; they first come on the market (in test market) in late 1965. That year the company announces its decision to market them nationally, as part of its Bontrae line of meat alternatives made from spun protein fibers. Robert Boyer recalls that when Bac*O’s hit the market they were a real sensation and the biggest thing that had happened with his patented idea to date. By Oct. 1966 Bac*O's are under limited test market in both retail and institutional outlets, and frozen Bontrae is under development (Odell 1967). In the summer of 1969 General Mills gives further proof of the seriousness of their commitment to Bontrae by starting construction of a large soy protein spinning plant in Cedar Falls, Iowa. By Nov. 1969 Bac*O's, still made in a pilot plant, are available nationwide except on the West Coast, and frozen Bontrae in flavors like ham, beef, and chicken are being sold to restaurants, hotels, and other institutions in New York state and adjacent areas. These pioneering moves have a tremendous effect on the thinking of other large food companies indicating, as they did, that the time for the soy protein foods of the future has arrived.
1965 – The U.S. Agency for International Development begins to respond seriously to the world's malnutrition problems. Of special importance is its three-volume Report on the World Food Supply, by the specially organized President's Science Advisory Committee. It encourages private U.S. firms to develop commercially viable protein foods for developing countries in three phases: (1) Study the food habits and nutritional needs of a particular area. (2) Product development. (3) Limited market testing. The results of phases 1 and 3 would be available to the public. AID would reimburse the company up to $60,000 per project.
1965 – Fri-Chik, the first meat alternative based on spun soy protein fibers (sold frozen) is launched by Worthington Foods. The fibers resemble the muscle fibers in chicken meat (Food Processing, Sept. 1965, p. 115+).
1966 MayFood Engineering magazine runs a major story by John V. Ziemba titled “Let soy proteins work wonders for you.” The subtitle reads: “With far better quality and functional properties, soy proteins are finding ever-increasing uses in foods. You can 'engineer' new foods or improve your current products – at more profit, too.” Spun soy protein fibers are discussed at length. Last year an estimated 7 million lb of concentrates and 9 million lb of isolates were used.
1966 spring – Central Soya announces construction of a plant for making soy protein isolates, having a capacity of 30 million pounds per year.
1966 Oct. 17-19 – International Conference on Soybean Protein Foods held at the USDA Northern Regional Research Laboratory (in Peoria, Illinois). Many of the 274 attendees and speakers are pioneers in the field. The proceedings, published in 1967, contain many excellent papers by various authors. A major theme at the conference is that protein malnutrition is the world’s most widespread deficiency disease. Ed Meyer (p. 152) estimates that about 15 million pounds of commercial soy protein concentrates and 10 million pounds of soy protein isolates are now sold each year.
1966 – Hayes Ashdod Ltd. (of Ashdod, Israel) launches the world’s first textured soy protein concentrates – Hayprotex and Contex. Compared to textured soy flour (TSP), these new products have better flavor and structural integrity, and contain less flatulence-causing oligosaccharides. The company was founded and is owned by Daniel Chajuss (Chajuss. 1992).
1966 Dec. – Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) in Decatur, Illinois, is now making TVP, a “textured vegetable protein product.” They probably started in April 1966 (Soybean Digest. 1966. Dec., p. 14).
1967 May – Ralston Purina Company’s Special Soy Products Dept. introduces the brand Supro® for its Supro 610 isolated soy protein. For the next several decades Supro will be Ralston Purina’s leading brand for its various types of isolated soy protein.
1968 May – Conference on Protein Rich Food Products from Oilseeds is held by the USDA in New Orleans, Louisiana. Oilseed proteins are increasingly seen as the answer to the "protein crisis."
1968 – “Feeding the Expanding World Population: International Action to Avert the Impending Protein Crisis,” a report (viii + 106 pp.) by the United Nations Advisory Committee on the Application of Science and Technology to Development, introduces the concept of a worldwide “protein gap.” It recommends soybeans as the single most promising protein source to close this “protein gap.”
1968 – Nisshin Oil Mills Ltd. builds Japan’s first plant to spin edible soy protein fibers.
1969 May – Stanford Research Institute publishes “Fabricated Foods” (Report No. 374, 16 p.) which contends that such foods have a bright future; it has a large impact on the U.S. food industry.
1969 June – A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co. acquires Gunther Products, a pioneer in the field of modified (enzyme hydrolyzed) soy whipping proteins. Gunther had been founded in 1948, incorporated in 1949.
1969 Oct.Protein-Enriched Cereal Foods for World Needs, edited by Max Milner, published by American Assoc. of Cereal Chemists.
1969 Nov. – Bac-o-Bits, meatless bacon bits made from extruded/textured soy flour, start to be sold nationwide by General Mills. Its forerunner, Bac*O's, made from spun soy protein fiber, had been introduced in May 1966. Frozen Bontrae meat analogs are sold to the foodservice trade. This pioneering work by one of America's largest food companies indicates to the U.S. food industry that the time for soy protein foods of the future has arrived.
1969 Nov. 17-21 – United Nations Industrial Development Organization Expert Group Meeting on Soya Bean Processing and Use held at Peoria, Illinois.
1969 – USAID starts actively encouraging U.S. businesses to launch low-cost commercial protein products in Third World countries.
1969 – General Mills wins the 20th Kirkpatrick Chemical Engineering Achievement award for soy protein meat analogs (Soybean Digest. 1970. Aug., p. 76).
1970s Overview – During this decade, modern soy protein products enter the U.S. mainstream.
1970 Jan. – Worthington Foods becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Miles Laboratories (Elkhart, Indiana; makers of Alka-Seltzer® and One-a-Day Multiple Vitamins®). The acquisition was for $16.4 million of common stock, not cash. At the time, Worthington made about 65 protein food items. Worthington Foods is a pioneer is the technology of making textured vegetable proteins, especially those from edible spun soy protein fibers, and soy beverages. It currently accounts for about 50% of the fabricated food market with trademarks such as Stripples®, Prosage® and Soyameat®. Worthington's 1969 sales will be an estimated $5 million (Wall Street Journal. 1969. Dec. 22. p. 10).
1970 Jan. 6 – William T. Atkinson, assignor to the Archer Daniels Midland Co., is issued a key patent (U.S. Patent 3,488,770) for a "Meat-like protein food product," which was (and still is) widely sold under the registered trademark TVP®.
1971 Feb. 22 – Textured protein products are authorized for the School Lunch Program. On 22 Feb. 1971 the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service issues FNS Notice 219 allowing federal reimbursement credit in the School Lunch Program for textured vegetable proteins, opening up a huge potential new market for TVP® type products. In practice, textured soy flour (such as TVP) could be used as an extender for meat, poultry or fish up to 30% on a hydrated basis provided the soy protein ingredients are fortified to meet certain nutritional specifications. Heretofore dry beans and peanut butter have been the only plant proteins allowed as substitutes for animal proteins in the Type A Lunch. The textured soy protein is used primarily as an extender for ground meat.
      The amount of products used jumped from 8.5 million lb dry weight in 1971-72 to 87.5 million lb in 1976-77 – a 10-fold increase in five years.
1971 Feb. – The Food Protein Council (renamed Soy Protein Council in Dec. 1981) is established as a trade association for major manufacturers of modern soy proteins for food use.
1971Soybeans as a Food Source, by Wolf and Cowan published by CRC Press. It focuses on modern soy protein products, offering an excellent review of the literature (86 pages and 276 references). A revised edition is published in 1975 (101 p., 416 references).
1972Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology. Vol. 1, Proteins, edited by Allan K. Smith and Sidney J, Circle is published by AVI Publishing Co. (xi + 470 pp.). It is one of the best and most comprehensive reviews on the subject, with extensive information on modern soy protein products. Each of the 12 chapters is written by an expert on the subject.
1973 May – Grain Processing Corp. (of Muscatine, Iowa) starts making soy protein isolates under the Pro-Fam brand.
1973 – Meat-soy retail market mixtures. By 1973 U.S. meat prices have risen rapidly to all-time highs. In March 1973 Red Owl Retail Food Stores in Minneapolis, Minnesota, introduce Juicy Burger II, a blend of 25% hydrated TSP and 75% ground beef. Soon similar beef-soy blends begin to appear under fanciful names such as Burger-Pro, Plus Burger, or Pro/Teen. Advertising stresses lower cost compared with all-beef products and less shrinkage in cooking. In late 1973, at the peak of interest, an estimated 30-40% of all U.S. supermarkets carry beef-soy blends. The new blends retail for 15-25 cents a pound less than regular hamburger and from May to August 1973 they have captured about 29% of the market share for hamburger. In Sept. 1973 beef prices tumbled. By March 1974 the market share of beef-soy blends had dropped to 20%, then to 10% by Nov. 1975. Yet, as a result, millions of Americans have become familiar for the first time with modern soy protein products and accepted them.
1973 Nov. – World Soy Protein Conference is held in Munich, Germany, and attended by over 1,100 delegates from 45 countries. The proceedings are published in the Jan. 1974 edition of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. The importance of the conference is underscored by the participation of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz and U.S. Senators Herbert Humphrey, Carl Curtis, and Walter Huddleston. A high point in the growing acceptance of soy proteins in foods, the conference concludes that more and more of the rising demand for protein foods will have to be met from sources such as soy that were not traditional in the West.
      The conference in Munich starts a tradition and subsequent conferences (with much the same basic message and speakers) are held in Singapore (Jan. 1978), Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Oct. 1978), and Acapulco, Mexico (Nov. 1980).
1973 – An estimated 10% of infants in the USA are being fed dairy-free infant formulas based on soy protein isolate (Fomon 1974).
1974 July 13 – A very influential article, “The Great Protein Fiasco: Dogma Disputed, by Donald S. McClaren is published is the prestigious British medical journal Lancet. It summarizes the history of the world's preoccupation with the "protein gap" and in particular the reasoning by which UN agencies (especially the Protein Advisory Group or P.A.G.) came to identify protein as the weak point in the world's nutritional defences. " McClaren, a nutritional researcher, concludes: "Food consumption data and dietary surveys incriminate energy [calories] rather than protein deficit." In the cause, "poverty, ignorance, bad housing, poor hygiene, and lack of family planning all conspire."
1974 Oct. – General Mills introduces meatless Betty Crocker Country Cuts, made from spun soy protein fiber, frozen, ready to eat, in ham or chicken flavors (Brody. 1974. Oct. 12, p. 62).
1974 – Griffith Laboratories (Chicago, Illinois) is now making “Textured soy protein concentrates” (GL-219 and GL 9921) (Horan 1974, p. 380). By 1975 Central Soya Co. is making the same type of product (Response).
1974 late – Miles Laboratories (new owner of Worthington Foods) introduces a line of meat analogs based on spun soy protein fiber and sold nationally at U.S. supermarkets under the Morningstar Farms brand. These sausage-like Breakfast Links and Patties, and ham-like Breakfast Slices represent the first attempt to market soy protein meat analog entrees (not including Bac-O's, a condiment) to mainstream America. These products are first sold commercially in limited test markets and to the institutional trade in 1972. In the fall of 1975 bacon-like Breakfast Strips are introduced nationally. The company spends $7.5 million on a nationwide promotion campaign in 1974 featuring prime-time television commercials emphasizing the nutritional angle. About 10 million Americans try the Morningstar Farms breakfast line in the first 18 months, meeting the company's goal, but fewer people than expected went back for seconds. In 1973 Miles' officials had predicted sales of more than $100 million a year within the decade. But by 1977 sales are running only $15 million a year, less than half the levels expected at that time, though still indicating a rather favorable consumer response. In 1977 Miles introduces a new improved line of the same products said to be tastier, juicier, and meatier. The marketing focus has been narrowed to consumers desiring a protein source free of cholesterol and low in saturated fat. While consumers find the quality of the new line improved, sales remain slow, partially because the new line, priced the same as the old line, was 2-27% more expensive than canned ham, prepared sausage, or bacon. By 1980 the advertising budget has been cut and the products are no longer found in a growing number of supermarkets. Nevertheless the traditional Worthington line continues to be successful and popular among motivated vegetarians (Rosenfield 1976).
1975 Aug. – Japan Vegetable Protein Food Association is founded to promote modern soy protein products, primarily soy protein isolates.
1976 Oct. 13-15 – Seminars on the use of soy protein for foods and meal for feeds are held in Moscow, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, the American Soybean Assoc., and the Food Protein Council. More than 200 Soviet officials attended.
1977 May – Dawson Mills (Dawson, Minnesota) purchases the Bontrae spinning technology and equipment from General Mills. Dawson Mills moves the equipment to its headquarters. Construction of a new isolate processing and spinning facility begins in April. In 1980 Dawson announces a new line of such frozen meat alternatives under the brand name Anaprime (Food Technology.1977. May, p. 216).
1977 – Seven companies now have licenses on Robert Boyer’s 1954 patent for edible spun soy protein fiber: Swift & Co., General Foods, Nabisco, General Mills, Ralston Purina, and Worthington Foods (all in the USA), and Unilever/Lever Brothers in England.
1978 Jan. – International Soya Protein Food Conference is held in Singapore; 400 people from 24 countries participate.
1978 May – The Keystone Conference on Soy Protein and Human Nutrition is held at Keystone Colorado. Sponsored by Ralston Purina Co., it presents a new view of soy protein’s nutritional quality – based on human nitrogen-balance studies rather than older rat studies.
1978 Oct/Nov. – World Conference on Vegetable Food Proteins is held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; More than 1,000 people attend.
1978 Nov. – Rich Products Corp. (of Buffalo, New York) introduces Bettercreme, a non-dairy icing that whips and is used primarily on cakes. It contains an enzyme-modified isolated soy protein (made perhaps by A.E. Staley's Gunther Products Div.).
1979 March – Food Protein Council holds an International Soybean Fair in Washington, D.C. Many congressmen, consular officials, etc. attend and sample soy protein products and tofu dips.
1980s Overview – During this decade the total market for soy protein food products grows very slowly, if at all.
1980 Aug. – Archer Daniels Midland Co. enters the soy protein isolate business with its purchase of Central Soya's soy protein isolate plant.
1980 Nov. 9-14 – World Conference on Soya Processing and Utilization. Held in Acapulco, Mexico. More than 600 registrants from over 40 countries attended. The proceedings are published in the March 1981 issue of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society.
1980 – Soy protein products are approved for use as a ground beef extender by the U.S. Armed Forces.
1981 Dec. – Food Protein Council, a trade association, is renamed Soy Protein Council, since all of its members make only soy protein products.
1982 Oct. 151982 Oct. 15 – Worthington is repurchased from Bayer AG (which just bought it from Miles Laboratories) by a group of three Seventh-day Adventist investors. During the 12 years under Miles, sales increased five-fold. Sales volume in 1983 was an all-time high. The Worthington subsidiary employs 250 people.
1984 – Dr. Walter Wolf of the USDA Northern Regional Research Center estimates U.S. production of modern soy protein ingredients as follows: Soy protein concentrates 36,000 tonnes (metric tons), soy isolates 41,000 tonnes, textured soy flour 43,000 tonnes, and textured soy concentrates 4,000 tonnes. The segment showing greatest growth appears to be that of soy protein isolates, of which Ralston Purina/Protein Technologies International is the largest manufacturer.
      Roughly half of the textured soy flour made in the U.S. is used in pet foods.
      Still there is widespread hope that, with the growing concern over dietary cholesterol, the low cost of soy protein relative to meat protein, the inevitable widening of this cost gap in the years to come, and the increasingly positive consumer attitudes toward soy protein products shown in polls, the market for these products will soon begin to realize its long-expected potential.
1985 April – Central Soya buys Griffith Laboratories' line of soy protein products.
1985 Aug. – Dale Johnson conducts an independent survey and compiles statistics on production and prices of soy protein products in the USA:
      Soy protein concentrates: 50,000 tonnes (metric tons) = 110 million lb at 77-132 cents/kg = 35-60 cents/lb.
      Soy protein isolates: 70,000 tonnes (metric tons) = 154 million lb at 220-243 cents/kg = 100-110 cents/lb.
      Textured soy flours + concentrates: 75,000 tonnes (metric tons) = 165 million lb. Textured soy flours sell for at 55-66 cents/kg = 25-30 cents/lb. Textured soy protein concentrates sell for at 154-176 cents/kg = 70-80 cents/lb.
      Spun soy protein fibers (Ralston Purina’s isolate product) sell for at 330 cents/kg = 150 cents/lb.
      Soy protein hydrolysates (Gunther’s product) sell for at 550-600 cents/kg = 250-273 cents/lb.
1986 Feb. – Central Soya purchases the Staley protein line, including Mira-Tex, Procon (a textured soy protein concentrate), and Textured Procon brands.
1986 July – Ralston Purina Co. (St. Louis, Missouri) starts publication of Nutrition Overview, a newsletter focusing on soy protein and fiber.
1987 July – Ralston Purina Co. establishes Protein Technologies International as a wholly-owned subsidiary to focus on manufacture and sales of soy protein ingredients for food uses. In 1986 the company's sales of soy protein products were $139.8 million.
1988 June 30 – ADM acquires Grain Processing Corporation’s protein business, largely for their Pro-Fam line of soy protein isolates (GPC news release).
1995 – Quest International, a unit of Unilever, acquires the Gunther Products Div. from A.E. Staley (Food Technology. 1995. April, p. 42).
1997 Aug. 23 – DuPont announces that it will acquire Protein Technologies International (PTI) from Ralston Purina for $1.5 billion in stock as part of its “fervent push into agricultural biotechnology” (New York Times. p. 35, 37). Last year PTI had $421 million is sales and $85 million in operating profit (Wall Street Journal. 1997. Aug. 25, p. A4).
1999 Oct. 26 – U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes the use of a health claim about the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) on labeling of foods containing soy protein. In order to qualify for this health claim, a food must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving. A sample claim states: "25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of GeniSoy Ultra-XT Vanilla Shake provides 14 grams of soy protein."
      This announcement starts a stampede among food manufacturers. Those which already have such foods on the marked, rush to put the FDA “heart healthy” claim and logo on their label and promotional materials. Other companies add enough soy protein (usually isolates) to existing products so that the fortified product can make the FDA claim. And many companies which previously had little or no interest in soy, rush to launch new soy protein products which would qualify for the FDA heart-healthy claim. In the year 2000 at least 33 new soy protein products are introduced by companies such as Genisoy Products Co., The Kellogg Co., Clif Bar, Dr.Soy.com, Energy Brands Inc. (Glacéau Soywater – water fortified with soy protein isolate – in 3 flavors), Galaxy Foods, Gardenburger Inc., etc. It was almost comical.
2000 Jan. 14 – DuPont, owner of Protein Technologies International, announces a partnership with General Mills to develop and sell new soy-based foods. General Mills has a retail food distribution system which DuPont does not (Agulnick. 2000).
2001 May 14 – General Mills and DuPont announce the launch of a new soymilk product in a joint venture. The new product is 8th Continent soymilk, made with soy protein isolates instead of the usual whole soybeans.
2001 – Worldwide production of soy protein isolates, concentrates, and soy flour:
      The most important of the modern soy protein products are soy protein concentrates, of which about 350,000 tonnes are manufactured worldwide. This is up from a worldwide capacity 246,000 tonnes/year in 1997. About 130,000 tonnes of soy protein concentrates (both powdered and textured forms combined) are made in the USA.
      Production of soy protein isolate (worldwide) is now about 220,000 tonnes. Only a very small amount of textured soy isolate is produced in the form of spun soy protein fibers.
      Production of soy flour (including textured soy flour) worldwide is about 120,000 to 130,000 tonnes (metric tons). It has increased quite a bit in the last few years, especially textured soy flour.
2003 Jan. 13 – DuPont and Bunge announce an important partnership that includes the creation of a stand-alone ingredients company, Solae, and alliances in agricultural production and biotechnology.
2003 April 1 – Solae officially begins operations, owned by DuPont (72%) and Bunge (28%). To the partnership, DuPont contributed its Protein Technologies International soy protein isolate business and Bunge contributed its North American (Central Soya and CanAmera Foods) and European soy ingredients operations. At about that same time, for marketing purposes and from the public's viewpoint, “Protein Technologies International” and “Central Soya” (pioneering and venerable business names in the soyfoods industry) are quietly and unceremoniously “disappeared.”
2005 – 8th Continent Premium Soymilk, the first major soymilk in the USA made from isolated soy protein, is launched. It bears the Solae logo (DuPont & Bunge are not mentioned). It is made by 8th Continent L.L.C. and distributed by General Mills [also not mentioned].
2005 – The craze to launch new soy protein products has now begun to wear off. But by this time a new force has begun to emerge: the Web-based anti-soy crusade. Soy products, such as soymilk and meat alternatives, have begun to take significant shelf space away from traditional dairy and meat products. Although only a few companies and individuals were involved, they created a huge anti-soy presence on the Web – where anyone can say anything they want.

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