Demand Makes a Difference

High oleic soybean oil expands uses for U.S.-grown soybeans, which gives soybean farmers more demand for their products.

Mike Beard chose to devote a portion of his soybean acres to high oleic soybean varieties because he’s excited about growing demand for the oil.

“More uses for our oil means a more valuable market for our soybeans,” says Beard, a soy checkoff farmer-leader from Frankfort, Indiana. “We have the opportunity to gain back some of the 4 billion pounds of oil demand that we lost to alternative oil sources when the government required trans-fat labeling.”

High oleic soybean oil is used in commercial kitchens and bakeries because it is heat-tolerant and shelf-stable without modification. Therefore, it can be used without creating trans fats. It’s also lower in saturated fats than other similar oils.

Restaurants like using soybean oil for frying because it doesn’t break down like other oils and it has the neutral flavor cooks want. Companies that make products like Nestle’s Coffee-Mate choose the oil to increase stability without adding trans fats.

The same features that make high oleic a good choice for restaurants – heat tolerance and stability – make it attractive for industrial applications, too.

“There are high expectations for high oleic in the industrial market,” Beard says. “High oleic soybean oil can replace petroleum in lubricants and synthetic motor oil. That could be quite a market for high oleic.”

To meet the growing demand for high oleic soybean oil, more farmers have to choose to plant high oleic soybean varieties. Beard says the outlook for farmers is good, too.

“You know, not all soybeans yield exactly the same, and high oleic yields right along with the upper tier of production from commodity beans,” he says. “I had the opportunity to purchase high-yielding varieties in my desired maturity group at planting, and I’m excited about the possibilities that high oleic soybeans afford us as an industry.”

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