Ontario-based Sevita International showcased its food-grade soybeans during the recent Ceres Global Seeds Insight Tour.

Sevita's General Manager Sandy Hart talked about what differentiates a food-grade soybean.

"What makes food-grade beans different is first of all they're non-GMO. They're usually elevated in protein and will work with various end users through our product development to establish suitability for use in production of different soy foods. Just because a soybean is high protein and non-GMO does not necessarily mean it's well suited for making tofu, soy milk or whatever else. Basically, they're beans that are going to be welcomed by the consumer to eat and welcomed by the manufacturer because they're efficient and easy to use in their manufacturing processes and help them create the product that they want."

Hart says Japan is the kingpin of markets for Canadian food-grade soybeans.

"Our customers, our largest use is for tofu. Tofu is a staple food in Japan for sure. We've got many varieties that are well suited to tofu production that perform well here in Canada. The second biggest use is soy milk. A lot of school lunches, a lot of soy milk is drank in the home. We have varieties that are suitable for that type of production as well. That encompasses maybe two-thirds or seventy per cent of what Sevita soybeans are used for. Beyond that you have more specialty products like natto. More generic products like miso and that pretty much gets you the full spectrum of the end use for food grade beans."

He talked about the incentive for farmers to grow food-grade soybeans.

"So the food grade programs come with a production premium obviously and that's to compensate the grower and reward them for best practices and by that I mean excellent weed control without the GM traits to be able to just go in and use Roundup or something like that as well as traceability, which is essentially record keeping, confirming that things have been cleaned out, making sure the crop is segregated at harvest time so it's delivered as one single variety."

Hart noted the soybean trials look excellent this year, especially compared to last year's drought-stricken crop.

Japan foodProducts made from Canadian food-grade soybeans