Keen on Beans: Establishing Edamame Awareness and Demand for Kentucky Consumers and Growers

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2002: $8,712.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Martha Lee
U of KY Cooperative Extension Service--Daviess Co.

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: beans


  • Sustainable Communities: community development


    Nutrition education and market development for edamame soybeans was conducted in Daviess County, Kentucky in 2002 for targeted groups. Following production, harvesting, and storage of test plot beans, the diverse team of producers, UK Cooperative Extension, state and local officials collaborated with marketing and industry officials in five states to produce significant marketing/ producer awareness milestones.


    Kentucky producers are continually searching for alternative sources of farm income. Reduced income from burley tobacco quota cuts, unstable tobacco marketing conditions, and low grain prices continue to plague western Kentucky farmers. This edamame study focuses on a new potential crop, its potential markets, and nutrition education directed toward the potential users/buyers of the product.

    Project objectives:

    Two primary objectives for the project were: nutrition education and new crop market development for the edamame soybeans in the Owensboro region. Based on the Food Drug Administration research information, diets that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein/day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
    This health claim is one of approximately 12 food/health claims that can appear on nutrition labels in the United States. This soy/health connection is the primary nutrition message that our edamame soybean team targeted with diverse audiences in our region. In addition, the Kentucky edamame soybeans were prepared in recipes that appealed to awide variety of ages of clientele—even among low vegetable-consuming adults and children. Targeted clientele for the project included: heart patients, health care workers, nutrition educators, seniors, agribusinesses, teens, and consumers.

    The market development goals for the project were based on trends outlined by University of Kentucky analysis of the edamame soybean/soyfoods potential. The objectives to increase public awareness of the benefits and taste of the soy product occurred simultaneously with the goal of marketing a new product through various marketing venues. The establishment of a product website was planned to inform and attract new food industries and markets for edamame.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.