On the high-oleic oil highway

by Jeff Gelski
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The supply pipeline for high-oleic oil continues to blossom. North American acreage should continue to increase for both canola and soybeans with high levels of oleic acid, although the supply of high-oleic soybean oil is battling a bottleneck in the form of delayed approval from the European Union.

High-oleic oil, made up of as much as 80% oleic acid, may offer health benefits since it has less saturated fat than conventional oil and no partially hydrogenated oil. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed to take away the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of partially hydrogenated oils because they have trans fats.

Shelf life is another positive factor with high-oleic oil, a factor that potentially may save on costs.

Dow AgroSciences, L.L.C., Indianapolis, offers omega-9 fatty acid oils derived from canola and sunflower. The oils have zero grams of trans fat and are more than 70% monounsaturated fat or oleic acid.

Companies probably will pay more for a 35-lb container of the omega-9 fatty acid oil than for a 35-lb container of conventional oil, but buyers should focus on the cost of oil over a month instead, said David Dzisiak, commercial leader of grains and oils for Dow AgroSciences. High-oleic oil might be more cost effective because it lasts longer in frying applications.

“The procurement people are really focused on price,” Mr. Dzisiak said. “It’s harder for them to factor into this different kind of equation, the new math of high-oleic oil we’ll call it.”

He pointed to two studies. In one, a quick-service restaurant chain compared a blend of Dow AgroSciences’ omega-9 fatty acid oils to commodity soybean oil. Frying applications with the omega-9 fatty acid oil high in oleic acid needed the oil changed every six or seven days. The other oil needed changing every three or four days. The other study took place in food service at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Upon switching to omega-9 fatty acid oils, oil used per meal decreased almost 18%.

“These oils have a clean, light, sensory package with them,” Mr. Dzisiak said. “So the food can shine through.”

Supply should not be a problem.

“The important thing about canola is, the crop is very scalable and cost-effective,” he said.

The canola harvest in Canada in 2013 nearly hit 18 million tonnes, according to Statistics Canada. The Canola Council of Canada, Winnipeg, Man., has set a goal of reaching 25 million tonnes by 2025.

Next year a new Cargill canola refinery is scheduled for completion at the company’s canola processing facility in Clavet, Sask., said Kristine Sanchagrin, marketing manager for specialty seeds and oils for Cargill.

Minneapolis-based Cargill offers Clear Valley 65 and Clear Valley 80 high-oleic canola oil along with Clear Valley high-oleic sunflower oil.

“High demand for clean label and better-for-you products has provided continued growth for high-oleic canola and sunflower oil,” said Edwin van der Hoek, production line manager for specialty seeds and oils for Cargill.

Waiting on Europe

Supply of high-oleic soybean oil should increase, too. The industry expects 140 million lbs to be available for use by the food industry in 2015, 400 million lbs to be available by 2016, and 9.3 billion lbs are projected to be available in 2024, said Bob Galloway, a consultant for Qualisoy and president of Galloway and Associates, L.L.C.

Qualisoy, which is a soybean industry collaboration, aims to help bring enhanced soy oil traits to the marketplace. An expected European Union approval would provide a boost to high-oleic soybean oil.

“Due to the prolonged timeline for E.U. approval of the high-oleic trait in combination with agronomic traits, expansion of high-oleic soybean acreage has been delayed,” Mr. Galloway said. “Consequently, adequate quantities needed for the largest food service companies and packaged food manufacturers to be able to commit to high-oleic soybean oil is also delayed.”

Plenish high-oleic soybeans from DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa, have cleared every global regulatory hurdle except for the European Union, Mr. Galloway said. Plenish soybean oil is more than 75% oleic acid and has 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil.

Mr. Galloway said Vistive Gold high-oleic soybeans from Monsanto, St. Louis, are not yet approved in either the European Union or China. Besides having a high level of oleic acid, Vistive Gold soybeans have 60% less saturated fat than commodity soybeans.

Smaller food service companies already are using high-oleic soybean oil, Mr. Galloway said. He pointed to two high-oleic soybean oil brands on the market — Frymax Soy Supreme from Stratas Foods, L.L.C., Memphis, Tenn., and Pour’n Fry NT Ultra from Bunge.

Bunge, Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill and Perdue AgriBusiness all have partnered with DuPont Pioneer to work with growers planting Plenish soybeans.

“Bunge has an active high-oleic soybean program currently, and it will continue to grow in the 2015 crop year with expanded acreage planted,” said Bob Johnson, director of research and development at Bunge Oils, Bradley, Ill. “We anticipate the program doubling in size for 2015.”

Supply of high-oleic soybean oil will be large enough for some implementation by multinational companies in their U.S. facilities, he said.

“Many multinationals are testing and conducting shelf life evaluations now in anticipation of full global approval for use in mid-2015,” Mr. Johnson said. “We anticipate a much broader launch of high-oleic soybean oil products with the 2016 crop.”

Mr. Galloway said high-oleic soybean oil works as a direct drop-in for deep frying and most other frying applications, and it has been shown to improve product flavor, product shelf life and oil fry life.

“This is in comparison to most other frying mediums used today that are not partially hydrogenated,” he said. “It is a non-hydrogenated alternative to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil shortenings used in frying and some other applications that do not need a hard fat portion.”

He added high-oleic soybean oil has been shown to work as a liquid fraction for shortenings that use other hard fat sources, such as interesterified soybean oil and palm oil.

“This latter blend makes an excellent bakery shortening for virtually every application that formerly relied on partially hydrogenated oils or blends,” Mr. Galloway said.

Tom Tiffany, senior technical sales manager for ADM Oils, said food companies are evaluating high-oleic soybean oil for food applications such as frying and baking. Other application areas such as spray oils for crackers also have potential.

“Supply of high-oleic soybean oil is limited, but we continue to receive feedback from multinational companies on product functionality and stability as they research potential uses for high-oleic soybean oil,” he said.

Two other recent innovations involve oils with oleic acid.

Dow AgroSciences has developed a high-oleic sunflower oil that qualifies as having zero grams of saturated fat since it has less than a half gram of saturated fat per serving, Mr. Dzisiak said. The oil is not yet available commercially, he said.

Cargill this year introduced IngreVita, a blend of canola oil, fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids and an antioxidant. Cargill research has shown consumers have a 98% awareness level for omega-3 fatty acids, Ms. Sanchagrin said.

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