What is soy/soya - and what do I call it?

Soya and soy are the same ingredient but when it’s used in food and animal feed products the food industry calls it soy. 99% of the soy we use as a business is used as animal feed in supply chains rather than a meat-free product, because it’s high in protein.

Our soy footprint

Our soy footprint is the amount of soy we use in Co-op products, both directly and indirectly as animal feed. We report our soy footprint on an annual basis in our sustainability report.

Co-op’s ambition

In line with our Future of Food ambition, we take a responsible sourcing approach to all the ingredients we use in our products - including the animal and fish feed used in producing them. Working to tackle deforestation and conversion is also a key part of our Climate Plan.

We recognise that soy can be linked to negative impacts on the environment and communities, particularly deforestation and land conversion.

Our ambition is that all soy used in Co-op products, including embedded in animal feed, will be deforestation and conversion free (with a cut-off date of 2020) and responsibly sourced by the end of 2025.

Our approach

We know change needs to happen at scale to both enable the changes in our supply chains and to tackle deforestation and conversion. We work in several collaborative groups - Retail Soy Group, Soy Transparency Coalition and The UK Roundtable for Sustainable Soy to increase transparency and engage with the wider industry.

We were a founding signatory of the UK Soy Manifesto (UKSM), which aims to ensure all physical shipments of soy to the UK are deforestation and conversion free by 2025 at the latest. We are also signatories to WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment to Nature - working to halve the environmental impact of UK Baskets by 2030.


We initially covered our footprint with Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) credits - covering 100% of our footprint from 2018-2020. In 2021, we covered our footprint with certification or RTRS credits, with a smaller proportion physically certified through mass balance or segregated models.

Credits support more responsible soy production - an important first step but are not an endpoint. We’re committed to doing more, and our ambition means we are moving away from RTRS credits and into direct physical sourcing of responsibly produced soy - either through certification schemes or verified deforestation and conversion-free sourcing regions or landscapes.

We are working with our suppliers to achieve this ambition and looking at ways we can support landscape approaches - you can read our full policy here. Alignment is crucial and we are supportive of the UKSM’s development of monitoring, verification and reporting systems.

Our commitment applies to all suppliers of our own brand products. However, initial engagement is focusing on our fresh protein suppliers, who account for around 70% of our soy footprint.


We work with our suppliers and other partners on sustainable and innovative feed solutions and share our findings. We also engage with feed companies to work towards more sustainable feed.


• Signatory to the UK Soy Manifesto - working to ensure all physical shipments of soy to the UK to be deforestation and conversion free with a cut-off date of January 1st 2020.

Founding member of the UK Roundtable for Sustainable Soy – The roundtable brings together stakeholders the UK soya market, providing a pre-competitive space for companies and industry associations to work together to achieve a shared goal of a secure, resilient, sustainable supply of soya to the UK.

Member, Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS) – The Round Table on Responsible Soy is a civil organization that promotes responsible production, processing and trading of soy on a global level.

• Through the Soy Transparency Coalition and UK Soy Manifesto we participate in we’ve engaged with soy traders to improve transparency (vital to addressing risks in soy) and were signatories to an open letter to the National Congress of Brazil on the protection of the Amazon.


We publish information on the soy used in our own brand products in our annual sustainability report. This includes volumes, origin and traders in our supply chain.

In addition to this, we are reporting the following data to increase transparency, and will expand on this next year.

2022 footprint

The following data covers our soy footprint certification for 2022. The certifications accepted are those benchmarked to the FEFAC SSG with a 2020 cutoff date and non conversion criteria.

Certification model 2022 footprint covered
RTRS Credits 72.7%
Area Mass Balance 10.4%
Mass Balance 16.8%
Segregated 0.1%

The data includes all soy used in own brand products. In 2021, 2% of our footprint was sourced from regions with low risk of deforestation and conversion (known origin and outside of South America).

Soy footprint covered by UK Soy Manifesto Signatories

We encourage our suppliers to sign up to the UK Soy Manifesto, to help drive collective progress in tackling deforestation and conversion in soy production.

% soy footprint covered by UKSM signatories 83%