Ushering in the next generation

by Jeff Gelski
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As suppliers prepare to market high-oleic soybean oil in commercial quantities, they may seek advice. Go-to-market strategies should incorporate growers, processors and food companies, said Richard Wilkes, director of food applications with Monsanto.

“We don’t want to commercialize this in isolation,” Mr. Wilkes said during a June 28 session at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Las Vegas. “Low-lin soybean oil was not the proudest moment for many of us. Either we didn’t have enough oil or we had way too much oil. We didn’t match that with what food company needs were. We’ve taken that and learned and come up with strategies to commercialize (high-oleic soybean oil).”

Low-linolenic soybean oil, which entered the market about seven years ago, may have taken unhealthy trans fat out of products, but problems arose in other areas, such as supply and how the oil increased the time needed to clean restaurant equipment.

Suppliers expect high-oleic soybean oil, called a next generation oil, to help solve those issues. Now, the food industry awaits supply to reach commercial levels large enough to meet their needs.
Supply of high-oleic soybean oil may reach 1 billion lbs by 2016 and 4 billion lbs by 2020, said Richard Galloway, a consultant for the United Soybean Board, during the I.F.T. session. Soybeans in total are grown on about 75 million acres in North America, Mr. Galloway said, and 15 crushing plants are dedicated to soybeans.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a business unit of DuPont and based in Des Moines, Iowa, offers Plenish high-oleic soybeans, which are used to produce high-oleic soybean oil. The oil is more than 75% oleic content and has 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil. Linolenic acid content of less than 3% compares to 7% for commodity soybean oil. Less linolenic acid means the oil is more stable.

Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill., will contract for Plenish soybeans in 2013 with the intention of marketing high-oleic soybean oil for use by the food industry in 2014, said Tom Tiffany, senior technical manager for Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill.

“We have great farmer participation for the 2012 Plenish high-oleic soybean program and look forward to greater success in the coming year,” said Matt Hartman, commercial manager in Frankfort, Ind., for ADM.
For the 2012 growing season, Bunge North America also contracted for Plenish soybeans with farmers near Bunge’s facility in Delphos, Ohio.

St. Louis-based Monsanto has developed Vistive Gold high-oleic soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December of 2011 deregulated the biotech trait, MON 87705, in Vistive Gold soybeans, which allows for field testing and seed production in the United States.

Vistive Gold soybean oil has oleic content of 75%, 60% less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil and increased monounsaturated fat, which leads to improved oil stability. Linolenic acid content is less than 3%.

“Once Vistive Gold joins Plenish, the volume is going to ramp up very, very quickly,” Mr. Galloway said.
High-oleic oil already comes from canola and sunflowerseeds.

Stratas Foods, Inc., Memphis, Tenn., offers high-oleic oils for the food service market. The oils include Frymax Sun Supreme, a sunflower oil; Frymax Soy Supreme, a soybean oil; and Frymax Sun Classic, a blend of sunflower oil and cottonseed oil.

“The secret to this stability is due to the oleic acid content level,” said Roger Daniels, vice-president of research, development and innovation for Stratas Foods. “Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid (i.e., building block of oil). Typically the greater the quantity of monounsaturates the more stable the oil. This is due to reduced reactivity of this component versus oils with greater quantities of polyunsaturates.”
Although high-oleic soybean oil may have a premium price, it may save on labor costs and have shelf life benefits, said Susan Knowlton, research manager at DuPont agricultural products, during the I.F.T. session.

Low-linolenic soybean oil left a brown, tarnish-like material on restaurant equipment, but high-oleic soybean oil does not to any great extent, which might lead to savings on labor costs, Ms. Knowlton said.
A longer shelf life for high-oleic soybean oil may lead to cost-savings.

“If you’re changing your oil every other week as opposed to every week, even at a bit of a premium, and I’ve factored in about a 10c premium, it’s about a 40% cost savings to the restaurant
owner,” Ms. Knowlton said.

In a 10-day test, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. used 1,000 lbs of high-oleic soybean oil, which was shown to have an increased shelf life of 170% to 200%.

Other high-oleic soybean oil tests came during a Culinary Institute of America’s Worlds of Flavor international conference and festival.

“I think mostly people were shocked that there was zero negative oil flavors on the food,” said Gerard Craft, a chef who spoke about the tests during the I.F.T. session.

The oil’s neutral taste did not interfere with desired taste of emulsions or foams, he said.

“If it’s a carrot foam, we really want it to taste like carrots,” Mr. Craft said. “If it’s watermelon, we really want it to taste like watermelon. It’s really important to have a very neutral oil to work with.”
Now, Mr. Craft and others involved in food creation await enough supply of the oil.

Other high-oleic options

While high-oleic soybean oil is about to enter the market, other high-oleic oil options already available.
Cargill, Minneapolis, offers Clear Valley oils and shortenings from canola and sunflower. The Clear Valley canola oil may be as much as 80% oleic. The company this year announced plans to build a canola processing facility near Camrose, Alta., and have it completed in time for the 2014-15 canola harvest. The facility is expected to be able to process up to 85,000 tonnes of canola per year. According to Cargill, canola acres in Canada were more than 21 million for the 2012-13 growing season.

Dow AgroSciences, L.L.C., Louisville, offers omega-9 fatty acid oils derived from its Nexera canola and sunflower seeds. The oils may be more than 70% monounsaturated fat. Taco Bell is one of the restaurant chains using the oil.

The National Sunflower Association, Mandan, N.D., promotes NuSun sunflower oil that ranges in oleic levels from 55% to 75%.

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