The US market for soyfood products grew by 21.1% to US$ 2.77bn over the course of 2000, according to a new report released this week: Soyfoods: U.S. Market 2001.

Furthermore, last year's figures have come on top of 20 years of strong and steady growth, and since 1995 dollar volume has grown 250%, hitting double-digit increases each year.

Authored by the Soyatech company and San-Francisco-based market research and sales tracking firm SPINS, the report revealed that 86.5% of total soyfood sales is derived from the top five categories in the sector; meal replacement beverages and powders, energy bars, soymilk beverages, meat alternatives and tofu.

Staple soy favourites, such as tofu, are witnessing a slow down in sales however, as consumers opt for 'easy to eat' foods such as meat alternatives and 'within product categories', for example the hand-held soy-enhanced energy bars and other ready to eat products.

According to the report, other categories currently experiencing strong growth are: cold cereals, cheese alternatives, non-dairy frozen desserts, soymilk yoghurt and frozen green soybeans.

Shoppers are also beginning to buy more soyfood products for supermarkets and multiples retailers, which consequently saw sales growth of over 30% during 2000. Within this sector, some products, such as refrigerated soymilk, are seeing triple digit growth rates.

Looking forward to next year's sales, the report predicts that sector revenue will grow by 15-25%.