RESEARCH: Mapping the soy supply chain in Europe | WWF

RESEARCH: Mapping the soy supply chain in Europe

Posted on
17 May 2015
Most consumers and even some companies are not aware of how much soy is embedded in products they sell and consume, WWF wants to raise awareness of the soy issue with both companies and consumers in Europe. This research aims to provide the necessary underlying data, including basic data on soy production and trade worldwide, as well as detailed data on soy use in the EU-28 in 2013.

The global soybean harvest reached a volume of 284 million tonnes in the harvest season 2013/2014. This corresponds with a total area of 113 million hectares. Over 80% of all soy produced globally originates from the United States, Brazil and Argentina combined. Global exports of soybeans, soybean meal and soy oil amounted to 182 million tonnes in 2013/2014. Largest exporting countries are Brazil, the United States and Argentina. Largest importing countries/regions are China, the EU-28 and the other Asian countries.

The total net soy consumption worldwide amounted to 280 million tonnes in the harvest season 2013/2014. The EU-28 countries consumed 31.6 million tonnes of soy in the harvest season 2013/2014. 

An average EU-28-citizen roughly consumes 53 kg of pork, poultry and beef (in retail weight), 214 eggs, 134 kg of dairy products and 3 kg of farmed fish (in retail weight) per year. This corresponds to a daily intake of about 146 grams of meat, half an egg, 367 grams of dairy products and 8 grams of farmed fish.

The embedded soy consumption in the EU-28 amounts to 30.7 million tonnes of soy products. This is equivalent to 26.6 million tonnes of soybean equivalent (sbe) and required 10 million hectares of farm land. This area is roughly equivalent to the surface area of Iceland. The total soy use per capita amounts to 60.6 kg of soy products. This is equivalent to 53 kg of soybeans (sbe) and required 197 m2 of farm land. This equals the size of a tennis court.

Embedded soy consumption is largest for chicken breast. Other iconic products containing a high amount of embedded soy are hamburgers, pork chops and salmon steaks.