Guelph students investigate creative uses for Ontario’s biggest crop

Posted on Monday, November 25th, 2013

Personal lubricants, environmentally friendly packaging and renewable energy all have something in common: soybeans.

Twenty diverse product proposals have been received for the 2013-14 Project SOY competition. Students registered in four graduate teams, 10 undergraduate teams and six diploma category teams will explore the market opportunities and overcome development obstacles to create innovative products with soy.

Teams exhibiting the best combination of determination, ingenuity, presentation skills and comprehensive marketing plans will be in the running for the $2,500 first place prize in each category.

“I was intrigued by the proposals from registrants demonstrating ‘thinking outside of the box’ and I’m really excited to see their concepts develop as they prepare to present the products to industry,” stated Laura Nanne – this year’s Project SOY student coordinator.

Their efforts will culminate in a written report and presentation at the Project SOY finale next March when participants showcase their product to judges, industry members and the public. One judge from each of the competition sponsors – DEKALB, Soy 20/20, OMAF MRA, and Grain Farmers of Ontario – will challenge participants to consider the real world tangibility, sustainability and marketability of their products.

“Until then, Project SOY participants will be busy leveraging the expertise of University of Guelph faculty and advisors alongside their skills, interests and consumer intuition,” says Nanne.

Soybeans, planted on more acres of Ontario farmland than any other field crop, have unique properties that lend themselves to a broad array of uses. Protein constitutes up to 48 per cent of the oilseed’s composition. It is also high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. And finally, the plant can provide much of its own nitrogen required for growth and development.