WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Mother Earth's Organic Food Festival in April provides a natural tie-in for vendors of soy products that are also organic, since April also happens to be National Soy Month. (see related story on Page 26).
Heinen's Fine Foods, based here, with 13 stores in the Cleveland area, will be demonstrating a soy flake cereal, Soy-N-Ergy, from The Organic Garden, Ann Arbor, Mich., according to Cindy Hudock, director of marketing and brand development for the distributor, Leo A. Dick & Sons, Canton, Ohio. The demos were set up by the Organic Alliance, St. Paul, Minn., in conjunction with Mother Earth's Organic Food Festival, Hudock said.
Her company also carries three kinds of Soy Nutty Crunchies, which is usually a snack food, but, as Hudock points out, the crunchy bits can also be used on salads or as a topping for casseroles. "Consumers are looking for so many different ways to get soy into their diets, and this is a no-brainer way to do that. Soy is it," said Hudock.
Center Store soy products can include soy beverages, soy flour for baking, even confections made using carob, which comes from the soybean. Jarred nondairy spreads, such as one resembling butter and another that is like cheese, also use soybeans as the main ingredient.
As of a few months ago, the Food and Drug Administration allowed soy products to use a health claim that 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. However, the increasing awareness of genetically modified organisms among the public has led to some stores pulling products that come from soybeans, if those soybeans are grown from genetically altered seed.
All demonstrations given at Whole Foods Markets are vendor-sponsored, according to Gail Shuman, demo supervisor for the chain's Northeast Region, which comprises the Bread & Circus stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as the Fresh Fields stores in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. For example, the Westsoy Soy Pudding Cups demo that took place March 27 at the Fresh Fields unit in Manhasset, N.Y., was completely supported by the vendor. Soy Vay Enterprises, Felton, Calif., does demos of its sauces and marinades, which are all soy-based, now and then at stores such as Trader Joe's.