Japan Cellfoods announced today that it has developed a safe, environmentally friendly method of processing soybeans that preserves their exceptional nutritional value while eliminating the unpleasant taste and smell often associated with soybeans.

This advance makes it possible to boost the nutritional value and health benefits of a wide variety of foods, ranging from bread to hamburgers and fruit juice, without comprising their taste. As such, the Takarazuka, Japan-based company expects that their product, called UniCell soybeans, will help expand acceptance and consumption of soy in the U.S.

Japan Cellfoods uses an enzymatic process (patent applied for) to break soybeans down into their individual cells, which remain intact even after spray drying. “I think there is value in consuming a highly nutritious food like soy in its entirety” said Mr. Akazawa, pointing out that, unlike such well-known soy products as tofu and soymilk, UniCell soy contains all of the beneficial components of the soybean, including fiber and isoflavin. Besides neutral taste and superior nutritional qualities, UniCell soy has further advantages, according to Mr. Akazawa: the intact cell walls help keep foods moist when the product is used as an additive and also help prevent oxidation, retarding spoilage.

Journalists and representatives of the food processing industry attending today’s press conference had an opportunity to confirm the palatability and versatility of UniCell soy powder by sampling it in a variety of foods and beverages. The samples included nutritionally enhanced bread developed in cooperation with the American Institute of Baking. Also featured were representatives of Henningsen Foods of Rye Brook, New York, which produced the spray-dried UniCell soy used in preparing food samples, and researchers from Iowa State University and Indiana Crop Improvement Association, who are working on food applications for the new soy product and allergy testing, respectively. Dr. Yukio Yamori, Emeritus Professor of Kyoto University, who has used the Japan Cellfoods soy product in his World Health Organization-supported research, spoke on the health benefits of a soy-rich diet.

In addition to supplying the consumer and institutional markets (including school lunch programs) in the U.S., Japan Cellfoods intends to cooperate with U.S. firms to produce UniCell soy in this country for export to Japan and elsewhere.