Chef Chad Rosenthal used high oleic soybean oil in his cooking demonstration of his signature dish, Motel Fried Chicken, for more than 300 attendees of the 2022 Columbus Food Truck Festival. Rosenthal beat famous chef Bobby Flay with Motel Fried Chicken on Flay’s series, “Beat Bobby Flay.”
Farmers have planted high oleic soybeans since 2011, and like many innovations, it takes time to develop into a consumer product. The soy checkoff invested time and research to bring high oleic soybeans to market, and the contributions are starting to pay dividends. As chefs and restaurants search out quality ingredients, they demand more high oleic soybean oil, one of the markets expected to continue to grow in the coming months and years.
“I like high oleic soybean oil for a lot of reasons,” says Chef Rosenthal. “Chefs don’t want to use oils that change the flavors of the food we prepare. My customers want healthier plates and restaurants want to be able to say that we are using clean ingredients. High oleic soybean oil fills both needs. Having no trans fats and being heart healthy are key qualities, and the oil does not break down as fast, meaning it does not have to be replaced as often, which helps us control our costs.”
Heart-healthy foods and clean ingredients have risen in popularity as people seek out such options. In the United States, a recent survey found that 64% of respondents say they try to choose foods made with clean ingredients, according to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) June 2021 survey From “Chemical-sounding” to “Clean”: Consumer Perspectives on Food Ingredients. High oleic soybean oil is positioned well to fill this thriving consumer demand.
John Motter, a soybean farmer from Ohio and former USB Chair, attended the food truck event to talk to patrons about high oleic soybeans from a farmer’s perspective.
“Events like these are fun because I love to talk to consumers about how and why we farm the way that we do,” Motter says. “After each cooking demonstration, I had people come up to me to ask questions. They really want to learn about how soybeans are grown.”
Chef Rosenthal and Motter spent time after each cooking demonstration discussing the benefits of high oleic soybean oil and how this product is produced, its benefits in cooking, and its growing use in the food and restaurant industry.
“People want to be healthy and consume clean ingredients and restaurants want quality cost-effective ways to meet that demand. Using high oleic soybean oil is one of the ways to achieve both,” said Chef Rosenthal. “I tell people in the restaurant business all the time that they need to consider high oleic — the benefits are too good to pass up.”
Motter sees a bright future for high oleic soybean oil and the soybean industry as demand continues to increase.
“High oleic soybean oil has seen growth in recent years. Each day we are learning more about what we can do with this oil and are constantly creating more demand,” Motter added. “To meet the growing demand for high oleic soybean oil, I encourage more farmers to plant high oleic soybean varieties. As demand grows, we will certainly need more farmers growing these soybeans and the economics continue to get better.”
The bottom line for high oleic soybean oil is clear: demand is growing and the future of this product is on an upward trajectory. Consumers are seeking out a cooking oil with good fats and U.S. soybean farmers have invested their checkoff dollars to help meet that need.