Project assessing public attitudes to soya find lack of awareness over quality

A university student is examining how aware Brits are of quality when it comes to soya.

Sophie Seddon, a 22-year-old student of Food, Nutrition and Well-Being at Harper Adams, is exploring whether the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) standard is valuable for both industry and consumers; it was formally established in 2006 to assure consumers that products containing soya are produced sustainably and without the use of GM.

Sophie, who regularly consumes soya, explained: “Soya is growing in popularity thanks to it being widely marketed as a healthy product through social media, being rich in calcium and B vitamins but low in fat. It’s also a good alternative for those with dairy allergies.

“But not all products are sourced sustainably. The issues of soya security and genetic modification are extremely topical at the moment and food businesses are striving to become more sustainable through their own corporate social responsibility strategies. My research indicates whether brand or variety has an effect on consumer behaviour and whether the RTRS logo has an effect on their purchasing habits.”

As part of her investigation, Sophie hosted two one-hour focus groups with both rural and urban consumers, raising issues such as RTRS logo awareness, range of products consumed and general attitudes towards soya.

Sophie added: “Initial results suggest that there is a lack of consumer awareness and knowledge of the RTRS logo, but people are willing to purchase soya products, regardless of the brand or variety. This has shown that soya is a growing trend and that there is great potential within the UK to source sustainable soya in the future.”

Sophie will begin a graduate role within new product development at the Village Bakery next month.

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