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ISTANBUL - U.S. farming groups are counting on new products such as edible crayons to make use of surplus soybean production and boost prices, Reuters reports.
Soybean output in Latin America is due to surge in coming years, so researchers are busy concocting new uses for soybeans, ranging from paint to adhesives in addition to a growing biofuel market, a conference heard Tuesday.
"There is huge soy production, and the result is driving the market down," researcher John Cherry of the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) told an edible oils conference in Istanbul. "There is quite an effort in the U.S. to push soybeans into the non-food market."
Use of soybeans outside of the traditional foods market has grown in recent years to absorb around four percent of the total U.S. crop, up from two to three percent, but industry groups aim to push that up to 15 percent to 20 percent by 2020, Cherry said.
A big selling point for many of the new products is that they are environmentally friendly in contrast to petroleum-based competitors. But they are generally more expensive, appealing to a limited market of green consumers willing to pay a premium.