The soybean or soya bean, is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. The plant is classed as an oilseed rather than a pulse.
Fat-free (defatted) soybean meal is a significant and cheap source of protein for animal feeds and many packaged meals; soy vegetable oil is another product of processing the soybean crop. For example, soybean products such as textured vegetable protein (TVP) are ingredients in many meat and dairy analogues. Soybeans produce significantly more protein per acre than most other uses of land.
Traditional nonfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and tofu skin are made. Fermented foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, natto, and tempeh, among others. The oil is used in many industrial applications.