In developing countries, people subsist mainly on starchy diets leading to malnutrition, and children are the worst sufferers. About 8-10 percent properly processed defatted soy flour incorporation doubles the protein efficiency ratio (PER) from a value of 1 for wheat flour. S.D. Kulkarni opines that defatted soy flour in bakery products has the potential to serve as a vehicle for nutrition improvement of the population at low cost.

In recent years, ready-to-eat convenience foods are becoming popular in India. The use of baked products like bread, biscuit, rusk is quite common among all economic groups in the urban population and getting popular day by day among all sections of society even in rural areas. The bakery products are occupying an important place in the food industry due to consistent quality and, therefore, have the potential to serve as a vehicle for nutrition improvement of the population at low cost and without much convincing.

The bakery industry of India can be categorised into three broad segments. They are bread, biscuits, and cake. Bread and biscuits are a significant part of the bakery industry and cover around 80 percent of the total bakery production. A number of people prefer fresh bread and other products from the local bakery, which is the reason for the growth of unorganised/small bakery units. People have now started appreciating good quality products and are willing to pay extra. The growth rate of bakery products has been tremendous in both urban and rural areas.

The unorganized sector accounts for 85 percent of the total bread production. In biscuits, 3-4 large-sized players comprise about 75 percent of the market. The Indian bakery market stood at a value of nearly USD 7.60 billion in 2020. The market is further estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% between 2021 and 2026 to reach a value of USD 12.39 billion by 2026. The Indian bakery market is being supported by the thriving biscuits and cookies industry in the region.

The biscuits and cookies industry in India accounts for nearly 72% of the sales in the Indian bakery market. In comparison to other baked FMCG products, the penetration of cookies and biscuits is quite high in both the urban and rural areas owing to their affordable price and cholesterol-free nature. Currently, India is the world’s largest biscuit consuming nation, which will be worth nearly USD 4.65 billion by FY 2020. The region enjoys a comparative advantage in manufacturing, with an abundant supply of primary ingredients, which supports the growth of the industry in the region.

East and North India are the regions with the highest consumption rate of biscuits and cookies in the country. Maharashtra and West Bengal, being the most industrially developed states, hold the highest rate of biscuit consumption. The top four players in the biscuits and cookies market are Parle Products, Britannia, ITC, and Surya Food and Agros, where Britannia and Parle together account for 61% of the total market share.

Nutrition and India

In developing countries, people subsist mainly on starchy diets leading to malnutrition. Children are the worst sufferers. Protein enrichment of such food items will certainly improve the nutritive value of the food to help combat protein deficiency. The role of balanced nutrition in human life has been recognized even in Vedas.

Child malnutrition is a chronic problem and a longstanding challenge for the public administration of India. Despite decades of investment to tackle this malaise, India’s child malnutrition rates are still one of the most alarming in the world. The Global Hunger Index (2020) — which is calculated on the basis of total undernourishment of the population, child stunting, wasting and child mortality — places India at the 94th spot among 107 countries.

The fourth round of NFHS, conducted in 2015-2016, found that the prevalence of underweight, stunted, and wasted children under five was at 35.7, 38.4, and 21.0 percent.

Protein is essential to build our body and repair the wear and tear in the tissues. Protein malnutrition is becoming a severe health concern, particularly among children in India. The need is to find a nutritious food resource to help fill the gap economically. Poor man’s protein – pulses – has become costly even to the honest rich. The Indian population, being mainly vegetarian, by economies rather than by choice, the unbalanced diets result in deficiency hazards. To help combat this problem inclusion of low-cost protein-rich material in the diet is necessary.

Soybean and bakery products

Refined wheat flour (Maida) forms the primary raw material for bakery products. However, now on the ground of health promotion of breads like whole wheat bread, high fiber bread, multigrain bread, etc., are being demanded by the consumers even on premium price. The purpose of supplementation is nutritional improvement. The raw material should possess high nutritive value at a moderate cost. Supplementation is easy for the bakery product to be prepared at a centralized facility, provided the product is acceptable. The feasibility of supplementation of bakery products is governed by the functionality of raw material.

Among others, the soybean revealed the superiority for the quality of various bakery products. It is a rich source of good quality protein (40 percent) with an excellent amino-acid profile and good quality 20 percent oil. Its high lysine content can supplement lysine deficiency in wheat/ cereal flours. India produces about 13 million tonnes of soybean and is available at Rs.35-40/kg. It is a low-cost protein among food legumes and other plant protein sources. The soybean, thus, is the cost-effective vehicle for nutritional enrichment of bakery products. About 8-10 percent properly processed soy flour incorporation doubles the protein efficiency ratio (PER) from a value of 1 for wheat flour. Soy flour also contains about 10-fold more calcium, 6-fold more phosphorus, and 4-fold more iron, thiamin and riboflavin compared to wheat.

Defatted Soy Flour: Generally, around 4.27 million tonnes (50%) out of 8.22 mt of the de-oiled soy cake (DOC), obtained after solvent extraction, containing more than 50 percent protein is mostly exported (SOPA, 2014), leaving millions of countrymen protein hungry. Only around 0.4 mt is used for inland food uses. The scope exists to enhance food uses of food-grade defatted soy flour prepared from properly processed soybean for extending nutrition and health advantages to the population.

Functionality: Some of the advantages of soybean in bakery products are: it improves shelf life, lessens mixing time, increases water absorption, replaces the use of non-fat dry milk, and reduces fermentation time for bread by 30 percent (Table.1). Enzyme active soy flour gives whiter crumb bread due to the bleaching effect. In cookies, soy use gives a crisp product.

table 1 soyflour in bakery products

The Technology: Efforts were being made for the development of process technology suitable for Indian bakery conditions. The experimental work on soy supplemented bakery products was taken up, among others, in the 1990s at Soybean Processing and Utilization Centre, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering Bhopal to optimise the use of soy flours in bakery products for nutritional improvement.

table 2 soyflour in bakery products

Soy Flour Supplemented Bread: The production of soy supplemented bread with defatted soy flour (Table-2) was tried using the straight dough method under standard Indian bakery conditions. Defatted soy flour was tried at different levels from 3-18%, and 12% defatted soy flour with S.S.L. in the formula gave an acceptable white pan bread (Table-2) for nutritional purposes. All types of breads can be supplemented. Bread prepared using 12% defatted soy flour were sliced into pieces (35-80 mm) and dried in the oven till uniformly brown (200oC, 15 min approx.) to produce bread rusk a snack item with tea or milk. Like rusk, buns are also a popular item locally and differ from bread in sugar content.

Defatted Soy Flour Fortified Biscuit: Long shelf life easily permits production and distribution at a large scale. The good taste makes biscuits and cakes a well-liked product among children. Hence their supplementation with high protein materials like soy flour is considered quite helpful in nutritional up-gradation of children. Soy flour incorporation level in biscuits and cake was fixed at 30% baker to get almost equal protein from cereal and legume components in deriving maximum nutritional benefit (Oke 1975). Based on the organoleptic evaluation, the finally acceptable recipe was developed (Table 2).

Soy Flour Soysupplemented Cake/Cake rusk: The level of soy supplementation in the cake was optimised at 30 % (Baker’s). After adequate cooling, cakes are sliced ( 5 cm x 7.5 cm) and dried in the oven to get cake rusk. Cake rusks are likely to be more popular than bread rusks, provided the price pattern is within reach of the needy consumer.

Practices of Bakery Production: These remain more or less the same in preparation with and without soy incorporation. However, variation in water absorption, mixing time, and additives is seen. The same set of machines/equipment are required in both the cases for bread, biscuit, and cake production.

Nutritional Contribution of Soy Based Bakery Products

Commercial bread contains around 7.5 percent protein. Soy flour addition of 12 percent (Bakers %)to the formula adds the protein content by 30 percent and in case of biscuits from 7-8 percent enhances by 50 percent with the addition of 30 (Bakers’) percent soy flour. The profile of percent RDA met of nutrients per serving is indicated (Table 3) for different soy supplemented bakery products.

table 3 soyflour in bakery products

Inclination for Soy Based Bakery Products

In the 1990s, Modern Food Industries Indore and Bhopal manufactured the 6% defatted soy flour (DFSF) supplemented bread for nutritional feeding programme of the State Govt. (the product not available in the open market for the public). Other bakers were unaware of using soy flour in the formula to produce high-protein bakery products of good quality. However, now bakeries have come forward to manufacture soy supplemented baked products as the products are acceptable to consumers and are economically viable. The products can go for commercial-scale production using edible grade defatted soy flour to supplement bakery products with very little change in bakery technology and no changes in bakery equipment.

The Scope of Soy Based Bakery Products

An encouraging trend in consumption of bakery products by the population of lower and middle-income groups indicates vast scope for consideration of nutritional enrichment of bakery products. Considering the 55 percent consumption in rural areas and 37 percent consumption by lower-income groups, biscuits can serve as a vehicle for providing additional nutrition at an affordable cost. Biscuit manufacturers, apart from the public, supply biscuits to the social welfare agencies in all States for the benefit of school children, senior citizens, and other needy sections of the society, e.g., people affected by earthquakes, floods, famine, people of war, etc. Health and wellness products in a bakery range are coming up as product options. Smaller packs of products are also an upcoming trend to facilitate the poor population to have access.

Soy flour supplemented bread and biscuits have excellent scope in public-funded nutrition feeding programmes for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. With this trend and scope in view, the bakery industry of India is expected to come forward to manufacture on a large scale the soy fortified bakery products through organised/unorganized sector and serve as one of the vehicles for the cause of nutritional upliftment of nutritionaly weaker countrymen. The Indian bakery industry should come forward with due optimism. The tax (VAT) benefits to the industry producing nutritious soy-based bakery products may help the growth of production.

Requirement of Soy Flour for Bakery Industry

The bakery industry is considered one of the potential buyers of defatted soy flour in bread and biscuit and enzyme-active full fat soy flour in bread production. The defatted soy flour requirement for bread has been estimated taking the bread production in India as 1.5 million tonnes and defatted soy flour incorporation level of 12 percent (Baker’s) for different levels of bread production using soy flour (Table 3) and enzyme active soy flour incorporation of 0.5 per cent level. Similarly, the biscuit production as 3 million tonnes and defatted soy flour incorporation level of 30 percent (Baker’s) is consolidated for different levels of biscuit production using soy flour (Table 4).

table 4 soyflour in bakery products

The vast demand of 0.057 to 0.288 million tonnes of defatted soy flour in the bakery product industry is envisaged through use in only 10 to 50 percent each of total bread and biscuit production. Thus an additional demand of up to 0.3 million tonnes of defatted soy flour is seen forthcoming in the bakery product industry. It is felt that realization of the demand of defatted soy flour is expected to set the trend for soy oil industry to go in for value addition to the valuable byproduct – the de-oiled cake – for inland food uses rather than going for export at a very low price keeping millions of countrymen protein hungry. This will enhance entrepreneurship to manufacture and supply defatted soy flour to bakeries. Also, the demand of 0.0004 to 0.0042 million tones of enzyme active soy flour is visualized for 10-100 percent bread production to give a bleaching effect to the bread crumb.


The demand for defatted soy flour is expected to go up substantially for the manufacture of soy-based bakery products and may find good scope in nutrition feeding programmes.

The work done at CIAE Bhopal revealed that the quality of soy flour and the processing method adopted for its production plays an important role in deciding the end product acceptability. The soy supplemented bakery products can be manufactured under Indian bakery conditions. Existing bakery manufacturing facilities of large, small or cottage scale can be used. Thus, at no extra capital investment and risk, a new product can be added to the present product range for nutritional purposes.

The vast demand of up to 0.288 million tonnes of defatted soy flour in bakery product industry is envisaged through moderate use in only 10 to 50 percent each of total bread and biscuit production. Also the demand of 0.0004 to 0.0042 million tones of enzyme active soy flour is visualized for 10-100 percent bread production to give a bleaching effect to the bread crumb. It is an excellent signal for the soy oil industry to come forward to gear up to meet the emerging demand with due quality and functionality. Incorporating soy flour in bakery products at a centralised facility will automatically empower the consumer to derive nutrition per serving and health benefits of adequately processed soybean.


Kulkarni, S.D. 1990. Soybean products utilization in USA – possible approach for Indian bakery Industry. Productivity 31(3):398-402.

Kulkarni, S.D. 1995. Protein enrichment of breads with soybean. The Indian Baker 26 (4): 29-31.

Kulkarni S.D. 2014. Options and Scope for Soy Food Uses – Indian Perspective. Paper presented in International Soybean Research Conference (SOYCON 2014) held at Indore, India during Feb. 22-24, 2013.

Oke OL (1975) A method for assessing optimum supplementation of a cereal-based diet with grain legumes. Nutrition Reports International 11:313-321.

Sinha, LK and Kulkarni, SD. 2000. Soy supplementation of bread for nutritional improvement under Indian conditions. Proceedings of 3rd International Soybean Processing & Utilization Conference, Oct. 15-20, 2000. Tsukuba, Japan. pp-431-432.

Sinha, LK & Kulkarni, SD. 2000. Optimization of use of defatted soy flour in biscuits for nutritional improvements of Indian masses. Proceedings of 3rd International Soybean Processing & Utilization Conference, Oct. 15-20, 2000. Tsukuba, Japan. pp-447-448. SOPA. 2014. Soymeal utilization pattern (Personal communication, e-mail dtd. 10.1.2014)


The author is the Principal Scientist, Agro Produce Processing Division, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal Photo created by mdjaff –