Food is the elixir of life and the root of good health. The food on our plates communicates with our DNA and creates the very blueprint of our body’s regular functioning. It is therefore extremely critical, that we take cognizance of not only what we eat but how and where the food we consume is sourced from.
While every individual requires protein from their daily diet in varying quantities based on a number of factors, every single person procures their day-to-day dietary protein requirement from a multitude of sources. These also include animal-based sources such as poultry, meat, and fish. In fact, while India is largely considered to be a vegetarian country, over 70 percent of the population consumes non-vegetarian food either regularly or occasionally. And while the demand for animal-based protein-rich foods is only slated to rise in the coming years, boosted by a burgeoning middle class, stronger purchasing power and easy accessibility, the need for information and awareness about the origin and content of the food we consume needs to increase proportionally.
This includes knowledge about the feed consumed by animal protein sources because the quality of feed that they consume during their cultivation translates directly into their nutritive value, further impacting the health of people consuming it or its by-products down the food chain. While nutrient requirements vary from species to species by age and life cycle of the animal, digestible amino acids, metabolizable energy and phosphorous are considered to be key nutrients an ideal diet must comprise of. And while there exists a variety of feeds that are commonly used by the animal husbandry, poultry and fish industries, the growing need for a more nutritive, affordable, and sustainable feed has led to greater utilization of soybean-based feeds across industries in recent times.
Derived from soybeans post extraction of the oil, this plant protein, which has a less variable chemical composition than other protein sources, has fast become the single most important source of protein for livestock, poultry and even fish. Soybean meal contains between 45-55 percent of crude protein, in addition to high levels of linoleic acid, essential omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorous, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, giving it excellent agronomic and nutritional qualities. Dehulled seeds result in even higher protein content – containing 47-49 percent protein and 3 percent crude fiber. With a profile that boasts of all essential amino acids and superior amino acid digestibility, a soybean meal provides energy through its high sucrose levels, thereby improving the growth, development, and performance outcome of the animals. Moreover, the oil content in a full-fat soybean meal contains important antioxidants that aids the overall health of the animal.
With soybean meal fast becoming an integral ingredient of animal feed, one would expect high awareness levels about its importance. However, as per a recent Nielsen India Food to Feed study 2021, only 64 percent individuals are aware of soy meal being utilized as feed for animal-based protein sources while only 49 percent are aware that soy feed enhances the protein package of cultivated animals and their by-products. This lack of awareness is a cause for concern, especially in a country like India where malnutrition is rife and cognizance about meeting daily nutritional requirements is obscure.
Today, the urgency to educate both, consumers, and the industry, about the importance of nutritive animal feed – about soy feed – to provide adequate quality nutrition for cultivated livestock, poultry and aquaculture is more pronounced than ever. Even as the animal industry begins to recognize the nutritional, commercial and sustainable benefits of soy feed, it is critical that key stakeholders and industry leaders too, understand the long-term health benefits of soy-fed animal cultivation, which has a domino effect throughout the food chain.
Initiatives such as the launch of India’s first voluntary ‘Soy Fed’ label by Right To Protein is a significant step towards driving awareness. The objective of this label is to empower consumers in identifying protein-rich livestock and aquaculture products while highlighting soy feed as a key distinguisher for animal protein sources; thereby allowing consumers to gain protein knowledge beyond just the source and make informed choices about the food they put on their plates.
Today, given the many advantages of utilizing soy as animal feed is slowly making its presence felt, the Soy Fed label, slated to be introduced on 30th September, has already been receiving support from various industry leaders and brands, who believe in the power of educating consumers to help them make better nutritional choices. As the first adopter of the Soy Fed label in India, the Sneha Group is championing not just the cause of driving awareness among consumers but further re-iterating soy feed as high-quality feed by incorporating it in their livestock’s food regime.
The need for good health and robust immunity is stronger than ever today. Even as we attempt to understand our body’s nutritional requirements and make a conscious effort in choosing the food that we consume, knowing the nutritional source of animal-based proteins is an important step towards a healthier lifestyle. So read the label and be reassured that if your animal-based protein food has the soy fed label on it, you are definitely adding a bout of good health and nutrition onto your plate.
Some labels are good after all.
Post Date: 29 Sep 2021