Soya was first recorded and described as a sacred grain in the Orient during the Chou Dynasty, between 1134 and 246 BC. Soya crops gained increasing popularity once their fermentation potential was discovered, and in Western civilisation the agricultural potential became prominent. In 1804, a ship from the Orient to the United States delivered its first batch of soya beans to the Western world. From there, soya spread worldwide and has since been used for both human and animal consumption. Soya bean has often been referred to as the ‘miracle crop’ due to its high protein content and variety of uses. Global soya production increased from 27 million tons in 1963 to 218 million tons in 2007 and is projected to rise to 514 million tons in 2050. In South Africa, soya is mostly used as animal feed. In the oilseed industry, however, human consumption is increasing. The production and consumption of soya bean oil for human and animal use is on the rise.