Yo Soy, 2022
Archival Giclée print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag
6 x 8in (15 x 20cm)
My latest info-graph-ic print shows the allocation of global soy production and debunks the false notion that tofu and alternative milks have driven enormous increase in production, when in fact over 75% is fed to livestock.
The base graphic is again from the brilliant Our World in Data and Hannah Richie's amazing graphics.
"When someone mentions soy we often think about foods such as tofu, soy milk, tempeh or edamame beans. This feeds into the argument that meat and dairy substitutes – such as switching from meat to high-protein tofu, or from dairy to soy milk – is in fact worse for the environment. But, only a small percentage of global soy is used for these products. More than three-quarters (77%) of soy is used as feed for livestock.
In the chart here we see the breakdown of what the world’s soy was used for in 2018. On the left we have total global soy production; in the middle, the three categories of uses (direct human food, animal feed, and industrial processes); and on the right we have the end use products. This data is sourced from an analysis published by the University of Oxford’s Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), which relies on the USDA’s PSD database.3 Over one-third (37%) of global soy is fed to chickens and other poultry; one-fifth to pigs; and 6% for aquaculture. Very little soy is used for beef and dairy production – only 2%.
One-fifth of the world’s soy is used for direct (i.e. not from meat and dairy) human consumption. Most of this is first processed into soybean oil. Typical soy products such as tofu, soy milk, tempeh and edamame beans account for just 7% of global demand.
Soy can also be used for industrial purposes. Around 4% is used for biofuels, lubricants and other industrial processes. Biodiesel alone accounts for 2.8%."