Expect soyfood market growth to hit $6 billion in sales by 2005, fueled by distribution in conventional mass-market outlets, reports MarketResearch.com.

About a year ago, the soyfood craze got a huge shot in the arm with FDA's stamp on the soy health claim.

As you recall, the claim says that soy protein included in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. That's a mouthful of good news.

With the help of that claim, today soyfood sales are booming. By the end of this year they're expected to hit $2.5 billion, and experts claim that should continue to explode by 15-20% over the next five years.

With that kind of expansion ahead, we're kicking off a series of stories devoted to explaining the growth and what it means to you.

Check out Stephanie Larson's story, "The Soyfood Boom," on page 10. It gives a rundown of the hottest products on grocery store shelves. Soymilk, for example, should hit $300 million in sales this year.

By the way, health-food stores no longer corner the soyfood market. Traditional food stores now have shelves bulging with soyfood products, too. In fact, according to MarketResearch.com, supermarkets account for 90% of soyfood sales.

Kate Fisher also outlines what qualifies as soyfood and specialty beans, and looks at whether they make sense for your production program.

Happy Holidays With the holidays fast approaching, maybe there's an opportunity to begin using some of these soyfoods in your gift giving and meal preparation. Hopefully, you'll even find a few ideas from what's shown on our cover.

With help from the Minnesota Soybean Association, we've featured favorites like a strawberry soy smoothie, soynut brittle, soy flour shortbread cookies and even soy chocolate truffles.

And for more on where to get recipes and other soyfood information, log on to SoybeanDigest.com. Also, watch for additional soyfood stories in upcoming issues.