High-oleic oils entering the market seek to provide healthy oils that are more stable and suitable for use in more applications. Two examples are Nutrisun sunflower oil, not to be confused with NuSun sunflower oil, and Plenish soybean oil.

A combined research effort of 14 years between Advanta Argentina and CSIC Spain (National Council of Scientific Research) created the Nutrisun sunflower oil. Its high content of oleic acid (70%) and stearic acid (18%) make it a more stable oil. Scientific studies have shown stearic acid, although it is a saturated fat, has no effect on the plasmatic levels of L.D.L. (bad cholesterol) and H.D.L. (good cholesterol).

Nutrisun sunflower oil has been shown to work as a replacement for fully or partially hydrogenated fats in frying, baking and confectionery applications. It works as a spray oil for crackers, in chocolates, ice cream, margarine, shortenings and other products that require soft fats.

In the United States, planted acreage of Nutrisun is expected to reach 50,000 acres this year. It also is grown in Argentina and Europe. Samples of Nutrisun are available now. Larger commercial quantities were to be available for evaluation and testing later this year and also in 2011.

Advanta is a seed company based in India. It has two business units, Advanta Semillas and Nutrisun, in Argentina. Nutrisun develops and trades vegetable oils with specific features and develops agriculturally-applied biotechnology.

Advanta owns the intellectual property and commercial utilization rights for Nutrisun seeds, grain and oils. The company has selected Technology Crops International, Winston-Salem, N.C., to manage the production and processing of Nutrisun sunflower in the United States.

The National Sunflower Association, Mandan, N.D., promotes NuSun sunflower oil, which is about 65% oleic acid. Other sunflower oils commercially available have oleic levels of 82% and higher, according to the sunflower association. Because of the stability of these high-oleic oils, they have been shown to work in confectionery items, non-dairy creamers, as spray oil on dried fruit, crackers and cereals, and as liquid oil for flavors and seasonings.

A new high-oleic soybean oil will enter the market since the U.S. Department of Agriculture this year approved the Plenish soybean trait for cultivation in the United States.

“Food companies can now look forward to a soy-based trans-fat solution that is not only more stable, but has less saturated fat than commodity soybeans,” said John Becherer, chief executive officer of Qualisoy, a collaborative effort within the soybean industry to help market the development and availability of healthier soybeans and soy oil. “And, soybean farmers can now take another step toward growing crops that are evolving along with the needs of their customers.”

Plenish high-oleic soybeans from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business based in Wilmington, Del., have an oleic acid content of more than 75%, which increases the stability of the oil and provides greater flexibility in food applications, according to Pioneer Hi-Bred. The oil from the soybeans has no trans fat. Saturated fat content is 20% less than the saturated fat content of commodity soybean oil.

Plenish high-oleic soybeans will be grown under contract for ongoing field and oil testing in the United States and Canada through 2011. Pioneer Hi-Bred expects full commercialization of the trait in 2012 upon global regulatory approvals and ongoing field testing.

According to Bunge North America, St. Louis, companies using high-oleic soybean oil may find benefits for par-frying, deep frying and snack spray oil applications. The benefits include greater stability at high temperatures, reduced polymer formation to minimize downtime, and a fatty acid profile that increases stability and eliminates the need for partial hydration.

Bunge also offers Nutra-Clear NT, a high-stability canola oil with high oleic acid content (higher than 70%) and low linolenic acid content (under 3%).

According to Dow AgroSciences L.L.C., Indianapolis, canola, sunflower, olive and nut oils have significant levels of omega-9 fatty acids, which are known as high-oleic acids or monounsaturated fats. Dow AgroSciences offers Omega-9 canola and sunflower oils that have omega-9 fatty acid content of 70% or higher, making them another example of high-oleic oils. Dow AgroSciences had Omega-9 oil capacity of more than 1 billion lbs in 2008 and expects to double that amount by 2012.

While suppliers of high-oleic oils may point to its low saturated fat content, defenders of saturated fat exist. According to palm oil supplier Loders Croklaan, which has a U.S. office in Channahon, Ill., research and heart health guidelines should focus more on the ratio of total cholesterol to H.D.L. cholesterol than on just total cholesterol. Saturated fats increase both forms of cholesterol, H.D.L. and L.D.L. According to the fourth edition of “Baking Science & Technology,” palm oil is 49.3% saturated fat and 36.6% oleic acid. It has no trans fat.

Blending of oils is another option for food manufacturers seeking healthy and stable products. AarhusKarlshamn USA Inc., Port Newark, N.J., offers shortenings in an EsSence line that are based on a blend of a liquid oil of a customer’s choice and a proprietary hardstock derived from palm and palm kernel oils. Canola, soybean, sunflower or safflower oils may be used in the blend. The EsSence shortenings are free of trans fat, non-hydrogenated and low in saturated fat.

Bunge opens innovation center

ST. LOUIS — The new Bunge Ingredient Innovation Center (B.I.I.C.) for Edible Oils & Carbohydrates in Bradley, Ill., includes a scaled-down version of an edible oil plant capable of creating shortenings, oils and other products used by food manufacturers, bakeries and restaurants, according to Bunge North America.

The center combines Bunge’s food ingredient innovation and pilot plant facilities into one location. An extrusion pilot plant may be used to test snack food and cereal applications made from milled grain products. The center houses bakery applications, analytic and sensory laboratories.

“Our team of 25 scientists and support staff has created an award-winning portfolio to address concerns about trans fat in shortenings as well as the need for whole grain products,” said Roger Daniels, director, research and development, Bunge Oils. “With the B.I.I.C., our customers will be able to test how these solutions improve the nutritional profile and performance of their existing products or work with our experts to develop new products.”

Bunge North America, based in St. Louis, is the North American operating arm of Bunge Ltd.

Fats that consumers view as very/somewhat healthy

2010 2009

Omega-3 fatty acids 76% 75%

Polyunsaturated fats 32% 29%

Monounsaturated fats 30% 32%

Trans fats 10% 9%

Saturated fats 9% 7%

Source: The United Soybean Board’s 17th annual Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition; Insights into nutrition, health and soyfoods. The study in February included 1,005 random surveys and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9% to 3.1%.