KANSAS CITY — New facilities are assisting food manufacturers in developing products with healthier oils. Expanding high-oleic soybean acreage, meanwhile, is increasing the supply of the functional and healthy high-oleic soybean oil.

Partially hydrogenated oils, which produce trans fat, virtually were eliminated from the U.S. food supply once a Food and Drug Administration ban on phos went into effect June 18, but a need for oil innovation still exists. Saturated fats should make up less than 10% of calories that people should consume per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. People should shift to food choices high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, according to the guidelines.

AAK USA, Inc., Edison, N.J., has invested in several North American facilities where food companies may work with AAK in developing products.

“We have been working to expand our North American footprint by investing in facilities and capabilities dedicated to supporting our customer partners in each region of the U.S.,” said Mark Becker, vice-president of sales and marketing for AAK USA. “Today, we have two customer innovation centers serving our bakery, chocolate and confectionery customers in Edison, N.J., and Louisville, Ky. Construction of our third U.S. customer innovation center to be located in our Richmond, Calif., facility is well underway and expected to open early 2019. The center will provide a new bakery lab dedicated to serving our West coast customer partners, and our new global center of excellence dedicated to the dairy segment and plant-based dairy alternatives will also be located in Richmond.”

AAK LouisvilleAAK opened its Louisville center earlier this year. A bakery lab there enables development and testing of new product systems to ensure functionality before plant trials and production. A pilot plant allows AAK to create functional, value-added shortenings and to determine optimum processing conditions needed for new product development. An analytical lab features benchtop scale fats and oils equipment and testing for new product development.

AAK showcased its fats and oils in samples at IFT18, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and exposition held in Chicago in July. Saturated fat was reduced by 20% in a fig and sweet potato scone with maple icing through the use of AAK’s Essence brand of shortening low in saturated fat.

Stratas Foods, Memphis, Tenn., at IFT18 launched its SuperbSelect 1020 shortening made with soybean oil. The product, which has no hydrogenated fats on the label, lowers saturated fat by more than 40% versus conventional palm oil.

Stratas Foods operates “The Kitchen” in Englewood, N.J., and a research development innovation center in Memphis. Customers at “The Kitchen” may experiment, test and invent new recipes. Besides fats and oils, customers also may experiment with sauces, dressings and mayonnaise. Stratas offers chefs’ expertise, branding teams, sales training, and marketing and branding ideas at “The Kitchen.” The center in Memphis is more for recipes requiring custom formulation.

“The bottom line is that ‘The Kitchen’ is intended to be unexpected when you walk through the door,” said Vincent Barcelona, a chef who leads the culinary team there. “I did not want a sterile or corporate feel. It is a space that speaks to creativity, open-mindedness, thinking outside the box … coloring outside the lines. ‘The Kitchen’ is the creative front end and bridge to our R.D.I. center, our research, development and innovation center in Memphis where our food science and commercialization happens.”

Maverik Oils, L.L.C., Redlands, Calif., is constructing a new facility in Crossville, Tenn., that will better serve customers in the East. Maverik Oils specializes in food-grade baking oils and release agents. The plant will manufacture a full line of baking and snack release agents, including trough grease, pan oil, divider oil, slicer oil and custom blends. An oil tank storage area and a packing area will be for oils sourced from soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower, coconut, almond, olive and palm.

“Crossville’s location off of Highway 40 and within an hour’s drive of two major cities — Nashville and Knoxville — is a great location,” said Chase Newman-Brewer, president and managing partner of Maverik Oils. “In addition, Tennessee is within a day’s drive of over half the U.S. states and will be a great resource for baking, snack and pet food manufacturers in the Southeast U.S.”

Bunge Ltd., White Plains, N.Y., diversified in fats and oils in September 2017 by agreeing to acquire a 70% ownership interest in IOI Loders Croklaan from IOI Corporation Berhad. IOI Loders Croklaan’s portfolio includes a range of products derived from palm oil and other tropical oils for use in confectionery, bakery and infant nutrition applications.

“The acquisition of Loders Croklaan allows Bunge to offer a broader portfolio of tropical oil products,” said Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing for Bunge North America, St. Louis. “Today, Bunge Loders Croklaan offers a full range of seed and tropical oils products; leading innovation and applications capabilities; an impressive global footprint; and a business built on value-chain integration and a clear commitment to sustainability. We leverage soybean, palm, canola, sunflower, shea and coconut to meet customers’ needs across bakery, culinary, confectionery, nutrition and other key categories.”

Soren Schroder, chief executive officer of Bunge Ltd., addressed the recent acquisition in an Aug. 1 earnings call.

“The integration of Loders Croklaan is progressing well, and we anticipate a strong second half with momentum building into 2019 as synergies are realized,” he said.

Bunge this year expanded its Whole Harvest portfolio of organic and non-bioengineered/non-G.M.O. expeller-pressed oils to include Non-GMO Project verified canola and soybean oils. Bunge’s network of farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan grows non-G.M.O. canola. Bunge’s network of farmers in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan grows non-G.M.O. soybeans.

“Our non-G.M.O. oils are Non-GMO Project Verified, the most trusted sign that a product is grown and made using best practices for G.M.O. avoidance,” Mr. Stavro said. “The verification program is a process- and product-based approach to assess compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, which requires traceability, segregation and testing of high-risk ingredients.”

High-oleic forecasts

High-oleic soybeans are the focus of an industrywide acreage expansion.

High-oleic soybean oil extends shelf life, offers a long fry life and provides a neutral flavor profile, according to Qualisoy, an independent, third-party collaboration among soybean industry stakeholders. The oil contains less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil.

While acreage of high-oleic soybeans should reach 400,000 this year, Qualisoy projects acreage to increase to 14,850,000 by 2026. Qualisoy projects the supply of high-oleic soybean oil, at about 360 million lbs this year, will exceed all other high-oleic offerings combined by 2027, reaching 9 billion lbs, because of the amount of available soybean acreage in North America.

Soy foods and soybean oil in general are rich in polyunsaturated fat, contain a moderate amount of monounsaturated fat and are low in in saturated fat, according to the Soyfoods Council, a non-profit organization created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers.

Other high-oleic oils include NuSun sunflower oil, which is lower in saturated fat than linoleic sunflower oil, and canola oil, which is under 10% saturated fat.

Saturated fats and trans fats raise bad cholesterol (L.D.L.) levels in blood, but monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern, according to the American Heart Association, Dallas.

The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey showed consumers still need education on the types of fats and oils. Less than 40% of respondents said they thought unsaturated fats were healthy while more than 10% said they were unhealthy. The percentages for saturated fat were more than 10% healthy and more than 50% unhealthy.