The Truth About Soybean Foam

Posted in: Greenwashing
By Naturepedic Team
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The Truth About Soybean Foam

The Truth About Soybean Foam

We’ll keep this short: soybean foam is primarily made from petrochemicals, not soybeans.

You might have also have heard of soybean foam as bio-foam, soy foam, and other names combining soy-, bio-, or eco-.

No forest green lettering or image of pastoral fields on marketing materials can change the truth: soy foam might contain 20% soy content but can contain as little as 3-5% depending on the product. The rest is highly flammable polyurethane foam.

If a consumer is looking for an alternative to polyurethane foam, soy foam isn’t the solution.

Marketers use certain words to give the impression that their products are healthier than they are. They count on the fact that soy foam sounds so healthy. The initial green angle for soy foam was on using renewable plant-based resources* to supplement non-renewable petroleum. Mattress and furniture company marketers soon found that marketing could intentionally lead consumers to make seemingly logical – albeit false – assumptions about what was, and wasn’t, in “soy foam.”

With the green-washed language in addition to green imagery and colors you’re convinced you’re making a smarter and healthier decision for your sleep. It’s easy to assume that soy foam is made from soybeans.

Furthermore, there is no monitoring of these claims. Companies that use words like “green” and “eco-friendly” have no measure of legitimacy from any government agency or organization.

So what’s the best way to know what you’re getting?

Pay attention to the labels. Always keep an eye out for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certifications, and hold companies and marketing teams accountable for misinformation and greenwashing.

All of our products are certified to the strictest standards available, and you can read more about our certifications here.

*You can read volumes about industrial soy crops. While out of the scope of this post, recent concerns include deforestation in Brazil for giant soybean plantations. More than 90% of U.S. soybeans derive from GMO (genetically modified organism) crops, and as far back as 2007 more than 50% of global soybean crops were GMO.

Additionally, a story published March 23, 2014 in The Telegraph claims "The United Nations will officially warn that growing crops to make “green” biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices..." Environmentalists have been concerned about biofuel crops and their environmental impact for some time. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to publish the actual report on March 31, 2014. Read The Telegraph's article at

7 years ago
Brande Plotnick
6 years ago at 12:04 PM
I'm so happy I found your post! We own an organic latex mattress. My parents are looking into a new mattress, and are considering a "soy based" mattress. I just knew it was bad based on what I know about GMO soy, but I couldn't articulate the reasoning clearly enough. Now, I can send them your post and hope it changes their minds. You are spot on about green fools even really smart folks like my parents! Basically, these mattresses are no more green than conventional innerspring products.
6 years ago at 12:14 PM
You are welcome! There is so much terminology out there implying one thing yet meaning another it's easy to get tricked. We make organic latex mattresses certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), but we also offer a variety of latex/coil hybrid and even latex-free mattresses, all certified organic. I mention this because not everyone knows there are certified organic options for people who do not want an all latex mattress or who prefer the feel of coils. Again, so glad your found our post useful. Contact us if you have any questions! - Sebastian of Naturepedic
Jen Love
1 year ago at 2:37 PM
Hello, I am Master seamstress and upholsterer. I work around 'a lot' of foam. We do get the Eco foam and yes it's not 100% Soy. Ours is wayyy higher then what this article mentioned, but I have good suppliers. I will say this. if you are really bad any foam will irritate you. But in general. and I am sensitive to this stuff.... the green foam is better then the regular cheap white Curon. or the blue V foam. or even the high grade Qualux yellow. memory foam is the awful.

The Truth About Soybean Foam

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