Different kinds of beans
Soybeans are one of the world's most versatile foods. They can be dried, boiled. crushed, curdled, fermented and crushed up into cattle feed and eaten as beans, nuts, oil, flour, powder, tofu, milk and sauce. There are nearly 7,500 varieties of soybeans ranging color from green to red to white with brown marble patterns. The most familiar one is yellow. Soy beans as we know them do not grow in the wild. The largest producers are Brazil and the United States. [Source: Fred Hapgood, National Geographic, July 1987, ╾]

Soybeans come from wild soybeans, ground-dwelling vines that are found in northeastern China and very different from modern, commercial soy bean plants. The black and brown beans from these wild plants were collected by prehistoric Chinese at least by 3500 B.C., first cultivated by Chinese farmers about 1000 B.C., and fashioned into tofu about a 1000 years later. Soy beans were not known by Europeans until a German physician in Japan wrote about them in 1690. They remained largely unknown in the West until 1900.

Soybeans grows well in soils too depleted to support other crops. The colonies of microorganisms that live with the soy bean plants return nitrogen to the soil that helps other crops to grow. These days soy beans are mainly grown for oil and animal feed.

Websites and Resources: American Soybean Association ; Purdue University Info ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Soya Foods ; Iowa Soybean Association ; Beyond the Bean ; SoyInfo Center, History of Soybeans ; Soy Products on the Cook’s Thesaurus ; Wikipedia article on Natto Wikipedia ; Miso Online ; Miso Soup ; YouTube Video of Tofu Making YouTube ; Wikipedia article on Tofu Wikipedia ; Nora (20 miles north of Tokyo) is regarded as the soy sauce capital of Japan. The main Kikkoman factory is here.

World’s Top Soybean Producing Countries

Top soy-bean producing countries and regions
World’s Top Producers of Soybeans (2020): 1) Brazil: 121797712 tonnes; 2) United States: 112549240 tonnes; 3) Argentina: 48796661 tonnes; 4) China: 19600000 tonnes; 5) India: 11226000 tonnes; 6) Paraguay: 11024460 tonnes; 7) Canada: 6358500 tonnes; 8) Russia: 4307593 tonnes; 9) Bolivia: 2829356 tonnes; 10) Ukraine: 2797670 tonnes; 11) Uruguay: 1990000 tonnes; 12) South Africa: 1245500 tonnes; 13) Indonesia: 1040000 tonnes; 14) Italy: 1005630 tonnes; 15) Serbia: 751578 tonnes; 16) Nigeria: 600000 tonnes; 17) France: 406670 tonnes; 18) Romania: 353640 tonnes; 19) Zambia: 296866 tonnes; 20) Croatia: 266010 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),, A tonne (or metric ton) is a metric unit of mass equivalent to 1,000 kilograms (kgs) or 2,204.6 pounds (lbs). A ton is an imperial unit of mass equivalent to 1,016.047 kg or 2,240 lbs.]

World’s Top Producers (in terms of value) of Soybeans (2019): 1) Brazil: Int.$43703960,000 ; 2) United States: Int.$37019934,000 ; 3) Argentina: Int.$21136464,000 ; 4) China: Int.$6013868,000 ; 5) India: Int.$5074352,000 ; 6) Paraguay: Int.$3258730,000 ; 7) Canada: Int.$2312035,000 ; 8) Russia: Int.$1667527,000 ; 9) Ukraine: Int.$1414624,000 ; 10) Bolivia: Int.$1143891,000 ; 11) Uruguay: Int.$1081609,000 ; 12) South Africa: Int.$447615,000 ; 13) Italy: Int.$398845,000 ; 14) Indonesia: Int.$359516,000 ; 15) Serbia: Int.$267917,000 ; 16) Nigeria: Int.$240952,000 ; 17) Romania: Int.$168330,000 ; 18) France: Int.$163897,000 ; 19) Kazakhstan: Int.$107926,000 ; [An international dollar (Int.$) buys a comparable amount of goods in the cited country that a U.S. dollar would buy in the United States.]

Top soy-bean producing countries in 2008: (Production, $1000; Production, metric tons, FAO): 1) United States of America, 16807533 , 80748700; 2) Brazil, 12360728 , 59242480; 3) Argentina, 9858712 , 46238087; 4) China, 2791841 , 15545141; 5) India, 2032695 , 9905000; 6) Paraguay, 1308722 , 6311794; 7) Canada, 598918 , 3335900; 8) Bolivia (Plurinational State of), 245792 , 1259676; 9) Uruguay, 180412 , 880000; 10) Indonesia, 159166 , 776491; 11) Russian Federation, 151649 , 745990; 12) Ukraine, 125847 , 812800; 13) Nigeria, 111548 , 591000; 14) Serbia, 73030 , 350946; 15) Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 69942 , 345000; 16) South Africa, 57588 , 282000; 17) Viet Nam, 57410 , 268600; 18) Italy, 57358 , 346245; 19) Iran (Islamic Republic of), 41695 , 197246; 20) Thailand, 39846 , 186598;

Early Soybeans in China and Japan

Soybeans come from wild soybeans, ground-dwelling vines that are found in northeastern China and very different from modern, commercial soy bean plants. The black and brown beans from these wild plants were collected by prehistoric Chinese at least by 3500 B.C., first cultivated by Chinese farmers about 1000 B.C., and fashioned into tofu about a 1000 years later. Soy beans were not known by Europeans until a German physician in Japan wrote about them in 1690. They remained largely unknown in the West until 1900. Soybeans remain a major crop in China, Japan, and Korea. [Source: Aileen Kawagoe, Heritage of Japan website,]

A clay pot, dated to the mid Jomon period (10,000 to 400 B.C.), was found in Hokuo, Yamanashi Prefecture with Japan’s oldest species of cultivated soybean imbedded in it. The finding, announced in 2007 by officials at the Yamanashi Prefecture Museum of Art, suggest that soybeans have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, making it one of the world’s first cultivated foods.

According to “Origin, History and Uses of Soybean” (Glycine Max) by Lance Gibson and Garren Benson, “The first domestication of soybean has been traced to the eastern half of North China in the eleventh century B.C. or perhaps a bit earlier." However they are believed to have been used as a food and a component of drugs since 5,000 years ago. The wild ancestor of the soybean is Glycine soja (previously called G. ussuriensis), a legume native to central China. Wild-size soybeans have been found in the Yellow River basin of China.

The oldest preserved soybeans found in archaeological sites in Korea have dated to about 1000 B.C.. Radiocarbon dating of soybean samples recovered through flotation during excavations at the Early Mumun period Okbang site in Korea indicated soybean was cultivated as a food crop in around 1000–900 B.C.

Soybeans and Health

Viewed as nutritional savior for the world, soybeans are rich in protein, calcium and B vitamins; high in mono-saturated (good) fat; and contains many photo chemicals, which scientist are starting to believe may help combat a wide variety of diseases. Because they have no starch soybeans are an important part of a diabetics diet and have more protein than lean beef. In places with little meat they are often an important source of protein.

Soybeans contain as much as 35 percent to 40 percent protein and as little as 35 percent carbohydrates and 18 percent fat and are the only true meat substitute in the legume family that supplies all the essential amino acids. In east Asia, they have traditionally been the major source of protein among people who either avoided meat voluntarily or were too poor to afford meat. Buddhist monks on a strict vegetarian diet get their important amino acids from soybeans.

Products made with soy beans contains weak estrogens (female hormones) called isoflavones which are believed to reduce the likelihood of getting prostrate and breast cancer and reproductive tumors. Chinese woman on high-soy diets have half the incidences of breast cancer as women on low-soy diets. Japanese women who eat soy products throughout their lives have lower rates of breast cancer than those who do not. Japanese women that come down with breast cancer have higher survival rate than Westerners. These studies do not rule out something other than soy causing the benefits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared that soy protein may reduce risks or coronary diseases by lowering blood cholesterol levels A study at the University of Kentucky showed that consuming two servings a day of uncooked soy protein such as that found in tofu, soy milk and soy powder, reduces bad cholesterol intake by around nine percent. Eating soy products increase the activity of lipoprotein receptors in the liver that clear bad cholesterol from the body. Soy products that had been cooked do not provide these same benefits.

A study by Japanese scientists found that a combination of capsaicin, the chemical that makes chilli’s hot, and isoflavone, a chemical in soy beans, helped restore head and eyebrow hair that fallen out due to stress. The chemicals raised levels of peptides in the body that stimulated the production of an insulin-like growth factor that in turn caused hair to grow. The hair of one man who lost hair due to stress grew back after taking the two chemicals for two months. A kind of freeze-dried tofu is said to reduce dioxin levels in the body.

Products Made from Soy Beans

Tofu, miso and soy sauce are staples of the east Asian diet and are now are very common place in the United States and Europe too. There are also many unconventional uses of soy derivatives. Soil meal is used in making vegeburgers and in brewing beer; tofu is fashioned into ice cream; and soy milk is sweetened and sold as a soft drink in Southeast Asia.

Many non-food products also rely on soy beans. Boxes are made from soybean-derived cardboard and held together with soybean glues. Soybean oil is used in ink, artificial petroleum and waterproof goods. Paints and caulking use soy paste as a thickener and fire extinguishers use soy protein in their foam. Soy lecithin is used as a lubricant. Soybeans are an essential ingredient in skateboards, bicycle tires and running shoes. In 1940 Henry Ford demonstrated the strength of soybean-derived plastic by smashing the trunk a car made with the stuff with an ax.

Scientists are looking into making plastics from soy beans that could replace plastic made from oil. They have already made polyurethane — the primary petroleum-based plastic — from converted soybean oil and have used it to make couch cushions, electric insulation, carpets, and even building materials. In the United States there is hope that products made from soy bean plastic could reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Soy beans are a renewable resource that be grown

See Biofuel

Soy Sauce

soy sauce topping and ice cream
Soy sauce is made from soybeans that have been steamed under pressure and mixed with roasted wheat and a ton of rock salt. Malt bacteria or yeast is added to cause fermentation, which lasts for six to ten months, after which time the mash is squeezed and soy sauce is poured out. During the pressing "moromi" (a mixture of soy beans, koji dry mash and salt water) in cotton bags is pressed to extract the raw soy sauce. The mixture is heated and pasteurized, which stabilizes the color and aroma. The waste is often sold as food to fish farms.

Chinese introduced soy-sauce-making methods to Japan in the 13th century. There used to be hundreds of varieties of locally-produced soy sauces but industrialization in the 19th and early 20th century helped homogenize them into factory-produced national brands. The mold used in fermentation is called "Aspergillus". It is so revered at the Kikkoman Corporation Soy Sauce Plant, production workers call it "ancestor."

The house of Kadacho, based in the town of Yuasa, produces premium soy sauces that sell for around $14 a liter. Fermented for one and half years, they are is made with pure spring water, no additives and carefully measured amounts of salt, soy beans and wheat. The company insists on using wooden vats and wood fires rather that modern stainless steal vats and gas, the norm in the soy sauce industry.


Tofu is made from pressed, coagulated soy milk. A staple in Asia along with rice, it is one of the most nutritiously complete foods: rich in protein, loaded with minerals, low in calories, almost devoid of fat or cholesterol and friendly to the environment. The word “tofu” is derived from the Chinese "dofu" (do for “curdled” and fu for “bean”).

Tofu is said to have been invented by a Chinese scholar in 164 B.C. and imported to Japan via Korea about the same time Buddhism was, around A.D. 600. It was mentioned in 1183 in a journal of a priest at Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara and has long been a food offered at temples and shrines. It was particularly valued as source of protein among Buddhist monks that didn't eat meat.

For a long time tofu was eaten mainly by the upper classes and vegetarian monks, in part because pulverizing the dried soy beans by hand was very time consuming and labor intensive. The introduction of the millstone to Japan made pulverizing easier and help bring tofu to the masses.

Tofu is also important in Japanese culture. During their training geisha girls learn to eat tofu without touching it to their lacquered lips. In the "mame-maki" ceremony held in February to welcome spring, packets of sacred soybeans are thrown into the air and scattered around the home to ward off evil spirits. In a ceremony called "hari-kuyo" broken sewing needles are given a final resting place in tofu-filled pan placed on a Shinto alter.

Tofu consumption has dropped from 72 pounds per person in 1967 to 59 pounds in 1999. In the old days many Japanese came out of their houses with bowls and bought tofu from vendors who rode through neighborhoods on their bicycles. Kyoto has generally been regarded as the source of Japan' s best tofu.

There are around 10,000 shops in Japan that make fresh tofu every day and deliver it door to door. There used to be more than three times that number but competition from supermarkets has forced many to close.

Tofu in China

Tofu is known as doufu or "vegetable meat" in China. Said to have been invented by a Chinese scholar in 164 B.C., it is made from coagulated soy milk produced by adding a coagulant salt to soaked, crushed and boiled soybeans and then pouring the mixture through a cheese cloth and pressing it with weights. In China, wiggly gelatinous tofu is fashioned into cakes and loaves, made into candy, and is shredded, sliced, deep fried, steamed, smoked, marinated, and fermented into a variety of products. [Source: Fred Hapgood, National Geographic, July 1987]

Soybeans originally come from China. Tofu is an important source of protein in China, where arable land is in short supply and can not be wasted on raising animals. Tofu is usually made in the middle of the night and sold by shops and street vendors, who often start selling sliced one pound blocks at six in the morning and sell out within an hour. Deep fried tofu cooked on charcoal-fired woks. During the winter many people have a breakfast of hot soy bean milk.

Tofu and soybeans have woven their way into Chinese culture. The Chinese consider tofu as common but valuable and tofu sellers are regarded as poor men with good hearts. A girl who is beautiful but poor is known as “doufu-xishi” ("bean curd beauty") and a man who takes his wife for granted is just "eating her dofu." The true test of strength for a martial arts master is being able to thrust his arm elbow deep in a barrel filled with soybeans.

World’s Top Soybean Exporting Countries

World’s Top Exporters of Soybeans (2020): 1) Brazil: 82973413 tonnes; 2) United States: 64571021 tonnes; 3) Paraguay: 6618591 tonnes; 4) Argentina: 6359764 tonnes; 5) Canada: 4433985 tonnes; 6) Uruguay: 2152270 tonnes; 7) Ukraine: 1789059 tonnes; 8) Russia: 1195856 tonnes; 9) Netherlands: 1054901 tonnes; 10) Croatia: 264682 tonnes; 11) Serbia: 250068 tonnes; 12) Belgium: 193511 tonnes; 13) France: 187436 tonnes; 14) Romania: 163567 tonnes; 15) Austria: 112953 tonnes; 16) Hungary: 96368 tonnes; 17) Slovakia: 95204 tonnes; 18) Togo: 89239 tonnes; 19) China: 79521 tonnes; 20) Turkey: 78288 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Soybeans (2020): 1) Brazil: US$28564147,000; 2) United States: US$25851456,000; 3) Argentina: US$2186202,000; 4) Paraguay: US$2146550,000; 5) Canada: US$1937741,000; 6) Uruguay: US$752225,000; 7) Ukraine: US$690373,000; 8) Netherlands: US$450141,000; 9) Russia: US$415348,000; 10) Croatia: US$113933,000; 11) Serbia: US$109000,000; 12) France: US$98801,000; 13) Belgium: US$87203,000; 14) Romania: US$74364,000; 15) China: US$71389,000; 16) Austria: US$70207,000; 17) India: US$44126,000; 18) Slovakia: US$41449,000; 19) Hungary: US$40557,000; 20) Turkey: US$37048,000

World’s Top Exporters of Soybean Cake (2020): 1) Argentina: 22247744 tonnes; 2) Brazil: 16937916 tonnes; 3) United States: 10044220 tonnes; 4) Netherlands: 3290907 tonnes; 5) Paraguay: 2077935 tonnes; 6) Germany: 1974803 tonnes; 7) Bolivia: 1630129 tonnes; 8) India: 1273238 tonnes; 9) China: 967355 tonnes; 10) Slovenia: 660404 tonnes; 11) Ukraine: 583587 tonnes; 12) Belgium: 546066 tonnes; 13) Russia: 523623 tonnes; 14) Turkey: 518559 tonnes; 15) Spain: 348219 tonnes; 16) Belarus: 335316 tonnes; 17) Canada: 293340 tonnes; 18) Norway: 200408 tonnes; 19) Romania: 181774 tonnes; 20) Italy: 123302 tonnes

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Soybean Cake (2020): 1) Argentina: US$7506300,000; 2) Brazil: US$5909220,000; 3) United States: US$3680203,000; 4) Netherlands: US$1353502,000; 5) Germany: US$745843,000; 6) India: US$701358,000; 7) Paraguay: US$682342,000; 8) Bolivia: US$490585,000; 9) China: US$390848,000; 10) Slovenia: US$248257,000; 11) Russia: US$235072,000; 12) Ukraine: US$225081,000; 13) Belgium: US$212949,000; 14) Turkey: US$197953,000; 15) Belarus: US$157187,000; 16) Spain: US$138735,000; 17) Canada: US$125442,000; 18) Norway: US$88100,000; 19) Romania: US$80515,000; 20) Italy: US$60970,000

World’s Top Soybean Importing Countries

World’s Top Importers of Soybeans (2020): 1) China: 100327174 tonnes; 2) Argentina: 5317336 tonnes; 3) Netherlands: 4536766 tonnes; 4) Egypt: 4062586 tonnes; 5) Thailand: 4044715 tonnes; 6) Mexico: 3900201 tonnes; 7) Germany: 3866984 tonnes; 8) Spain: 3336028 tonnes; 9) Japan: 3163364 tonnes; 10) Turkey: 3040452 tonnes; 11) Taiwan: 2595278 tonnes; 12) Indonesia: 2475288 tonnes; 13) Bangladesh: 2318456 tonnes; 14) Italy: 2211879 tonnes; 15) Pakistan: 2139976 tonnes; 16) Russia: 2072058 tonnes; 17) Vietnam: 1871563 tonnes; 18) Iran: 1490957 tonnes; 19) Portugal: 1392052 tonnes; 20) South Korea: 1328146 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Importers (in value terms) of Soybeans (2020): 1) China: US$39528004,000; 2) Argentina: US$1982370,000; 3) Netherlands: US$1745580,000; 4) Thailand: US$1602980,000; 5) Egypt: US$1600286,000; 6) Germany: US$1570627,000; 7) Mexico: US$1508940,000; 8) Japan: US$1490784,000; 9) Spain: US$1287405,000; 10) Turkey: US$1206053,000; 11) Taiwan: US$1040241,000; 12) Indonesia: US$1003422,000; 13) Bangladesh: US$941615,000; 14) Italy: US$887633,000; 15) Russia: US$862213,000; 16) Pakistan: US$842490,000; 17) Vietnam: US$772162,000; 18) Iran: US$615007,000; 19) South Korea: US$604157,000; 20) Portugal: US$530820,000

World’s Top Soybean Oil and Paste Producing and Exporting Countries

soy milk bath
World’s Top Producers of Soybean Oil (2019): 1) China: 15528300 tonnes; 2) United States: 11290000 tonnes; 3) Brazil: 11263345 tonnes; 4) Argentina: 8081200 tonnes; 5) India: 1438200 tonnes; 6) Mexico: 874503 tonnes; 7) Russia: 741173 tonnes; 8) Paraguay: 704200 tonnes; 9) Egypt: 653400 tonnes; 10) Netherlands: 635200 tonnes; 11) Germany: 624100 tonnes; 12) Spain: 579700 tonnes; 13) Bolivia: 522886 tonnes; 14) Indonesia: 511035 tonnes; 15) Japan: 488923 tonnes; 16) Taiwan: 470100 tonnes; 17) Thailand: 440400 tonnes; 18) Italy: 413200 tonnes; 19) Pakistan: 396900 tonnes; 20) Canada: 360258 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Exporters of Soybean Oil (2020): 1) Argentina: 5271404 tonnes; 2) United States: 1238940 tonnes; 3) Brazil: 1109809 tonnes; 4) Paraguay: 631415 tonnes; 5) Netherlands: 615134 tonnes; 6) Russia: 610990 tonnes; 7) Spain: 393665 tonnes; 8) Bolivia: 377226 tonnes; 9) Ukraine: 301865 tonnes; 10) Turkey: 208283 tonnes; 11) Germany: 196724 tonnes; 12) Egypt: 169761 tonnes; 13) Nepal: 169066 tonnes; 14) Canada: 126906 tonnes; 15) Thailand: 113483 tonnes; 16) Malaysia: 112079 tonnes; 17) Portugal: 110481 tonnes; 18) China: 108380 tonnes; 19) Algeria: 95100 tonnes; 20) Italy: 83089 tonnes

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Soybean Oil (2020): 1) Argentina: US$3740139,000; 2) United States: US$979140,000; 3) Brazil: US$761418,000; 4) Netherlands: US$464325,000; 5) Russia: US$442985,000; 6) Paraguay: US$416787,000; 7) Spain: US$304835,000; 8) Bolivia: US$259597,000; 9) Ukraine: US$226596,000; 10) Nepal: US$185215,000; 11) Germany: US$157255,000; 12) Turkey: US$146948,000; 13) Egypt: US$126936,000; 14) Algeria: US$110000,000; 15) Malaysia: US$107510,000; 16) Portugal: US$103628,000; 17) Thailand: US$102934,000; 18) Slovakia: US$102519,000; 19) China: US$102221,000; 20) Canada: US$100466,000

World’s Top Exporters of Soya Paste (2020): 1) Japan: 15995 tonnes; 2) Myanmar: 2230 tonnes; 3) Poland: 68 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Soya Paste (2020): 1) Japan: US$36038,000; 2) Myanmar: US$3315,000; 3) Poland: US$224,000

World’s Top Importers of Soya Paste (2020): 1) Myanmar: 17959 tonnes; 2) Poland: 66 tonnes; 3) Mongolia: 9 tonnes; 4) Cambodia: 5 tonnes

World’s Top Importers (in value terms) of Soya Paste (2020): 1) Myanmar: US$25048,000; 2) Poland: US$180,000; 3) Mongolia: US$36,000; 4) Cambodia: US$13,000

World’s Top Soy Sauce Exporting Countries

miso udon
World’s Top Exporters of Soy Sauce (2020): 1) China: 157793 tonnes; 2) Netherlands: 64771 tonnes; 3) Japan: 39336 tonnes; 4) United States: 33731 tonnes; 5) Taiwan: 26603 tonnes; 6) Thailand: 24584 tonnes; 7) Singapore: 23285 tonnes; 8) Hong Kong: 18834 tonnes; 9) South Korea: 15313 tonnes; 10) Indonesia: 15300 tonnes; 11) Malaysia: 12922 tonnes; 12) Philippines: 7975 tonnes; 13) Vietnam: 5544 tonnes; 14) Poland: 4754 tonnes; 15) Germany: 4317 tonnes; 16) United Kingdom: 3438 tonnes; 17) Canada: 3318 tonnes; 18) Belgium: 2984 tonnes; 19) Russia: 2442 tonnes; 20) Peru: 1944 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Soy Sauce (2020): 1) Netherlands: US$151524,000; 2) China: US$150936,000; 3) Japan: US$70440,000; 4) United States: US$57284,000; 5) Singapore: US$46362,000; 6) Thailand: US$34567,000; 7) Taiwan: US$29897,000; 8) Hong Kong: US$29588,000; 9) Indonesia: US$22448,000; 10) Malaysia: US$19783,000; 11) South Korea: US$16073,000; 12) Germany: US$12978,000; 13) Vietnam: US$8480,000; 14) United Kingdom: US$8118,000; 15) Belgium: US$8079,000; 16) Philippines: US$7379,000; 17) Poland: US$7336,000; 18) Austria: US$5466,000; 19) Canada: US$4233,000; 20) France: US$3058,000

World’s Top Exporters of Soy Sauce (2019): 1) China: 158721 tonnes; 2) Netherlands: 56347 tonnes; 3) Japan: 42776 tonnes; 4) United States: 34332 tonnes; 5) Singapore: 27056 tonnes; 6) Taiwan: 26612 tonnes; 7) Thailand: 24567 tonnes; 8) Hong Kong: 22708 tonnes; 9) South Korea: 15377 tonnes; 10) Indonesia: 14978 tonnes; 11) Malaysia: 14713 tonnes; 12) Philippines: 6810 tonnes; 13) United Kingdom: 5896 tonnes; 14) Vietnam: 5396 tonnes; 15) Germany: 4062 tonnes; 16) Egypt: 3326 tonnes; 17) Canada: 2870 tonnes; 18) Belgium: 2600 tonnes; 19) Poland: 2593 tonnes; 20) Peru: 1838 tonnes

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Soy Sauce (2019): 1) China: US$148395,000; 2) Netherlands: US$120370,000; 3) Japan: US$70459,000; 4) United States: US$57835,000; 5) Singapore: US$50839,000; 6) Thailand: US$34873,000; 7) Hong Kong: US$33178,000; 8) Taiwan: US$26831,000; 9) Malaysia: US$20702,000; 10) Indonesia: US$20681,000; 11) South Korea: US$15225,000; 12) Germany: US$11257,000; 13) United Kingdom: US$10702,000; 14) Belgium: US$9766,000; 15) Vietnam: US$7789,000; 16) Philippines: US$6265,000; 17) Poland: US$4399,000; 18) Canada: US$3621,000; 19) Austria: US$3038,000; 20) Sweden: US$2826,000

World’s Top Soy Sauce Importing Countries

World’s Top Importers of Soy Sauce (2020): 1) United States: 75811 tonnes; 2) United Kingdom: 26315 tonnes; 3) Canada: 24609 tonnes; 4) Netherlands: 21973 tonnes; 5) Russia: 21663 tonnes; 6) Germany: 20807 tonnes; 7) Australia: 20511 tonnes; 8) Hong Kong: 20501 tonnes; 9) France: 17212 tonnes; 10) Indonesia: 15801 tonnes; 11) China: 11804 tonnes; 12) Singapore: 10792 tonnes; 13) South Korea: 10289 tonnes; 14) Belgium: 9206 tonnes; 15) Malaysia: 8291 tonnes; 16) Mexico: 7581 tonnes; 17) Italy: 6989 tonnes; 18) Spain: 6727 tonnes; 19) Saudi Arabia: 6564 tonnes; 20) Thailand: 6483 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Importers (in value terms) of Soy Sauce (2020): 1) United States: US$108096,000; 2) France: US$46784,000; 3) Germany: US$44986,000; 4) Canada: US$43197,000; 5) United Kingdom: US$41674,000; 6) Australia: US$41555,000; 7) Netherlands: US$39342,000; 8) Hong Kong: US$28237,000; 9) Russia: US$24424,000; 10) Spain: US$21265,000; 11) China: US$19919,000; 12) Italy: US$19570,000; 13) Indonesia: US$15648,000; 14) South Korea: US$14889,000; 15) Singapore: US$13374,000; 16) Thailand: US$12984,000; 17) Belgium: US$12980,000; 18) Sweden: US$12607,000; 19) Mexico: US$11782,000; 20) Switzerland: US$10417,000

Image Sources: 1) Ray Kinnane, 2) xorsyst blog, 3) Japan Zone; 4) Wikimedia Commons;

Text Sources: National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Natural History magazine, Discover magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2022

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