What food customers want from oil.
Food customers continue to ask for high-functioning and sustainable products. High oleic soybeans are an attractive option for U.S. farmers to meets those needs and expand in the food market.
“One of the most important things for food manufacturers is distance from the crop to the market,” says Roger Daniels, a food scientist with Stratas Foods, which provides vegetable oils for its customers to use in frying and baking. “For soybean oil, it’s grown in the breadbasket of America. It’s a local crop and manufacturers are close by as well.”
Hellmann’s mayonnaise promotes its use of commodity soybean oil, highlighting its support for local farmers. The close and consistent supply, Daniels says, helps convince food brands to choose soybean oil over other options.
The increasing availability of high oleic soybean oil is another reason. The oil from these premium soybeans offers extra functionality and a trans-fat-free solution for food customers needing high-heat stability.
“The high oleic trait was developed to make an oil that is very stable in terms of shelf life for baking applications and for frying,” Daniels says.
He describes many uses for high oleic soybean oil, like spray oil that adds flavor to cereals, a frying medium for fast food and a blending component with bakery shortenings for cookies and crackers.
Farmers can grow high oleic using all the same sustainable management practices they use on their commodity varieties. It yields competitively with those varieties and even comes with a premium at the elevator.
Nestlé showed its commitment to customer health by replacing partially hydrogenated oils in its liquid Coffee-mate® products sold in North America with high oleic soybean oil. Many similar companies — from Pringles potato crisps to Nutri-Grain breakfast bars and Stauffer’s animal crackers — are evaluating high oleic soybean oil to meet their diverse needs.
“Consumers are looking for products that are safe, simple and sustainable,” Daniels says. As interest in food ingredients continues, soybean oil — a sustainably grown, locally sourced product that offers healthy and functional options — fits the bill for consumers and food companies alike.