The United Soybean Board (USB) kept Soyfoods Month running strong by hosting an exhibit at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, April 16. The exhibit gave consumers a chance to taste-test some soy products while promoting soyfoods and the health benefits of soy-based products.

Janice Peterson from the USB Edible Products subcommittee looked at the event as an opportunity to get some of the 400,000 spectators and 15,000 athletes to try soyfoods.

"What we're most concerned about is that they try it (soyfoods) for the first time. We're not concerned after that," she says. "Often a consumer just needs to pick and choose from the many soyfoods that are out there. Our real challenge is getting the consumer to search and find one that suits their palette."

The group served veggie dogs, soymilk and baked, marinated tofu products from LightLife and VitaSoy, two of the five event sponsors. In addition to a taste test, consumers were given a soyfoods guide, coupons for soyfood products and checkoff material. Other sponsors included the Soyfoods Association of North America, the Indiana Soybean Board and USB.

A recent checkoff-funded survey shows that 76% of American consumers consider soy products to be healthy, while 39% of consumers are aware of soy's specific health benefits such as lower cholesterol and reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Currently 37 million bushels of U.S. soybeans are utilized annually to make soyfoods. Utilization is expected to continue growing and could reach 66 million bushels by 2005.