Non-beany soya

The technology to produce non-beany tasting soya products on a small, medium or large scale is known throughout the world and can be applied in Africa, according to Corinda Erasmus, business area manager for South Africa’s CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) National Food Science and Technology Programme (NFSTP Foodtek).
N The technology to produce non-beany tasting soya products on a small, medium or large scale is known throughout the world and can be applied in Africa, according to Corinda Erasmus, business area manager for South Africa’s CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) National Food Science and Technology Programme (NFSTP Foodtek).
NFSTP Foodtek offers research and development services to optimize projects and processes using soybeans as a raw material. These projects can consist of feasibility studies and processing technology to manufacture value-added soya products. In addition, end applications of soya and soya products in various foods can be evaluated.
NFSTP Foodtek also offers an extensive series of analytical tests, of which some are specific for soya products.If the entire production chain is handled correctly, processed soya products do not have to be beany in taste, says Erasmus.
Most of traditional soya processing technology comes from the Far East, where the beany taste of soya products is known and is of no concern to the consumers. However, in Africa the beany taste in processed products is unpopular.
The production of non-beany soya products can be accomplished in various ways:

  • Selection of the right type of bean seeds. Different soya cultivars have different levels of beaniness.
  • Handling in the field. If soya beans are allowed to be mechanically damaged, the biological process which follows inside the beans is similar to the bruising and spoiling of fruits, and therefore increases the beany taste. Care taken with the beans reduces the beany taste – this gives processors who control field production an advantage.
  • Optimization in the use of known, mainstream equipment of various sizes. NFSTP Foodtek offers information and advice on this aspect.
  • Larger-scale chemical processes such as the internationally known INTSOY process, or combinations thereof, where the unwanted compounds in the beans are either inactivated during processing by adding suitable chemicals or biologically active ingredients, or removed by mechanical means such as evaporation.
    Erasmus says international seed breeders are currently developing non-beany soya beans which will become available within a few years on a commercial basis. This will enable processing plants to be more cost-effective and to produce soya products with a completely bland taste. However, proper handling and pre-treatment of the beans can reduce the beany flavor considerably without having to revert to expensive end treatments.
    NFSTP Foodtek also offers advice on extrusion technology, especially in the field of textured soya protein for human consumption, including recipes for a selection of soya products. It also assists with specific needs such as packaging options suitable for African conditions.
    It has a pilot plant to establish a process before its commercial implementation.
    In countries like Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria, use of soya is more common than in South Africa, but there is very little processing (it is mainly cooked to be eaten as a vegetable). Before processing of soya is embarked upon, it should be clearly established whether the end product(s) will be competitive with substitutes like dairy.
    Alternatively, it can also be targeted at niche markets. Dairy may often be highly competitive in Africa because of subsidized imports from the EU. Nonetheless, soya processing plants of various different sizes may also be competitive.
    Soya is used as an ingredient in many products, particularly:
  • Non-dairy substitutes for yogurt, ice cream, milk and other dairy products.
  • Meat products.
  • Breakfast cereals.
  • Bakery products.
  • Snacks.
    CSIR: cerasmus@csir.co.za
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