Less than one in 10 said they had discussed the health benefits of soy products with doctors or health care providers, while 36 per cent of adults and 41 per cent of parents had never tried a soy food or beverage.
The survey comes from a somewhat surprising source as it was commissioned by California-based Stremicks Heritage Foods, which owns the popular soymilk, 8th Continent.
More positive findings for pro-soy advocates include the fact 83 per cent of adults know at least one nutritional benefit of soy. It found those with greater soy knowledge tend to be younger, single and live in the north east of the US.
But only 17 per cent consume soy products on a weekly basis; 34 percent monthly.
About 37 percent have drunk soymilk with about 40 percent of respondents saying they have never tried it because they believe it tastes bad. A quarter said they found it to be too expensive or felt they did not know enough about its health benefits.
When it comes to dietary improvement, 52 per cent said they were doing so by trying to increase intake of a particular nutrient with the top three being fiber (36 percent), omega-3 fatty acids (25 percent) and calcium (20 percent).
Perhaps in response to these findings, a version of 8th Continent was being launched with added fiber, omega-3s and calcium.
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive and comprised more than 2000 US adults. About a quarter of these had children under 18 years old
Select soy suppliers said they had benefited from the Chinese melamine scare as some consumers looked for alternatives to dairy products.
The US-based health and wellness company, ISI Brands/Twinlab, said it was introducing a new soy protein drink supplement to China, “urgently addressing” the melamine scare by offering it as an alternative to Chinese dairy products.