What is soy?


Soy, or soya, is a climbing plant of the legume family. It is cultivated primarily for its oil seeds that yield edible oil with the highest consumption rate worldwide.

Like peas and green beans, soy is a leguminous plant. Originating in southern Asia, soy was cultivated as early as 4,000 years ago. In fact, soy has been among traditional Chinese food for centuries.

Along with corn, soy is one of the most cultivated plants around the globe. It plays an increasingly important role in the human diet as well as animal feed in the form of oilseed cakes.

Over the years, several varieties of soy have been created. Protein-rich and low-cholesterol soy is excellent for healthy eating. Soy grains are one of the richest natural foods. They contain a large quantity of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins A and B, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.

Soy grains can be eaten as is, like beans, cooked or prepared otherwise. Several food products are made from soy, including tofu, miso, natto, soy sauce, soymilk and other meat substitutes.

Soy has unique properties beneficial to human health. A number of studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of soy can yield impressive results, including reducing hot flashes, menopausal disorders, the development of osteoporosis and memory problems.

These studies have also demonstrated that a large consumption of soy helps to better control diabetes and reduce cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer (colorectal, prostate and breast).


Either term may be used, according to linguists. The term soy is borrowed from the Japanese language, while the term soja is derived from the German language. In French-speaking North American communities, the English derivative soya was adopted, while French-language European countries have adopted the German form soja. In fact, the term soya was derived from a Manchurian word through the Dutch language, in turn borrowed from the Japanese word shoyu.






Once drained, soymilk becomes tofu, a kind of vegetable cheese. It has very little taste, but it can easily absorb the flavour of other foods or condiments. There are several forms of tofu.



Soybeans soaked in water and fermented several hours with a rice straw bacteria –Natto is a traditional Japanese food often eaten at breakfast.



 Paste obtained from pureed soy grains fermented from three months to three years. Miso is composed of 40% crushed soy, 40% rice and 20% salt. It is diluted to make soups and sauces.

Lait de soya


Whitish liquid extracted from cooked and pressed soy grains. It can be used as a drink and in any dish instead of cow milk.

Sauce soya

Soy Sauce

Fermented then salt-cured, soy yields this highly tasty sauce, a must in Asian cuisine.



Made with soy grains and fermented 24 hours – It can be shaped in pancakes or balls to be prepared like meat.

Soy nuts

Roasted soy seeds eaten like peanuts



Soy harvested green with pods – This type of soy can be eaten as a fresh or frozen vegetable, after having soaked it in boiling water 5 to 10 minutes.

Poudre de soya


Soya crushed after cooking and mixed with different wheat flours in bakery and pastry, for instance.


A micro-organism, plant or animal whose genetic material has been altered by humans to give it characteristics that it did not have before or already has but at a level deemed insufficient in its natural state, or to remove or mitigate specific characteristics deemed undesirable.

IP Variety

Identity Preserved Variety, whose traceability can be ensured from seeding to export and final processing