Info for Food Manufacturers
High stability canola oil demand keeps rising:
Food processors and food service industries around the globe are adopting
high stability character-trait canola oil for its functional and health
qualities. The current anti trans fats trend has spurred other companies
to switch to the more healthful canola oil.
One source of trans fats is partially hydrogenated
vegetable oil. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about
40% of the food on grocery store shelves contains partially hydrogenated
vegetable oil. While U.S. and Canadian consumers may not know that hydrogenation
creates trans fats, mandatory labelling for trans fat will soon be implemented.
Dow AgroSciences sells Omega-9 canola oil and Cargill
sells Clear Valley Canola Oil both high stability low linolenic (lin)
acid canola oils. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (SWP) is selling SP Craven
low lin canola. High stability means the oil will not breakdown under
commercial scale food production. Commodity canola is one of the most
healthful oils available to consumers. But it requires hydrogenation
for use in commercial applications.
"The trans fat issue isn't new to us," says
Brent Zacharias, Canola Trait Marketing Specialist for Dow AgroSciences."We've
been developing Nexera canola varieties and promoting Omega-9 canola
oil properties for commercial use for many years. The consumer shift
to healthy oils and the move away from hydrogenated oils is perfectly
timed with the development of high stability canola oils and canola
varieties. This shift certainly bodes well for canola growers."
Ernie Unger, Cargill's Director of Operations, says
his company markets IMC high stability canola varieties that produce
Clear Valley canola oils. He says canola is perfectly positioned to
gain market share in North America as more and more commercial and domestic
oil users make the switch from hydrogenated vegetable oils.
SWP introduced SP Craven on a few test acres last
year. This coming season will be the first big offering to growers of
the low lin crop, says Darcy Rafoss, Manager Seed Business Unit for
SWP. He agrees that the trans fat issue is going to help improve demand
for low lins, but demand has already been building."I expect eventually
one-quarter to one-third of the canola acres will be character-trait
varieties," says Rafoss. He adds that SWP will have more character-trait
canola choices for growers within two years.
Given today's preference for heart-healthy oil, the
new high stability canola varieties that keep canola's low saturated
fat level gives them a definite market advantage, says Barb Isman, President
of the Canola Council of Canada.
Dow AgroSciences has been producing Nexera canola
varieties since 1997, but they also saw the need to develop end-use
markets right along with these varieties.
"We are focused on leading the industry in value
chain partnerships and developing relationships with new end-use customers
interested in the unique marketing opportunity Nexera canola offers,"
says Zacharias."The market is ready for highly stable, healthy
canola oil, and we see the move toward alternatives to trans fats as
one way to increase the overall competitiveness of canola."
Japan has been a primary market for Omega-9 canola
oil. Dow AgroSciences has worked with a number of groups in Japan (crushing
companies, Japanese trading companies, and the various levels of ownership)
to bring Omega-9 canola oil to Japanese consumers.
"The Japanese are traditionally more health conscious
than North Americans. I'd say the Japanese market is a little more sophisticated.
Where North Americans simply buy vegetable oil, the Japanese consumer
oil market has many different segments."They're further along in
assigning value to healthy and functional foods," says Zacharias.
Omega-9 canola oil has experienced significant growth
in Japan in both retail and bottled oil on the shelf."In Japan,
oil is often part of their gift-giving traditions. Omega-9 canola oil
was first used as a premium oil given in a gift set." Although
this business continues to grow, the major markets today are in retail
bottle and food service.
The light taste of Omega-9 canola oil as well as its
health attributes has made it a Japanese preference. It's labelled under
descriptive names in Japan such as Healthy Lite.
Demand for low lin canola oil is also growing in North
America. There are incredible opportunities in food processing and food
service markets, says Zacharias."We're collaborating with our trade
partners and calling directly on major food companies to make them aware
of Omega-9 canola oil as the best low saturated, trans fat alternative.
This is an unprecedented opportunity for canola to become the product
of choice and develop incremental growth and value for the crop,"
he adds. It's easy to see why commercial and consumer markets are ready
to welcome a healthy alternative to trans fats. Meanwhile, the premiums
paid for high stability canola varieties offer growers a means to boost
net returns over commodity canola.
"From grower, to processor, to end-user, Nexera
canola contracts bring value. We estimate that so far growers have received
over $34 million of incremental value over growing commodity canola."
In the spring of 2004, Dow AgroSciences introduced
Nexera 800 Brand canola with the Clearfield trait. For 2005, the company
will introduce Nex 828 CL and Nex 830 CL which can also be grown using
the Clearfield Production System herbicides.
Cargill introduced the Roundup tolerant high
stability hybrid Victory v1010 last year. This year it will offer IMC111RR
and IMC209RR Roundup Ready canola varieties, says Gary Galbraith Canadian
Production Manager for Cargill Specialty Canola Oils.
The returns that can be generated by low linolenic
canola are substantial, says Zacharias. Low lin canola is a perfect
response to the trends driving the food industry and consumers' health
concerns. Its benefits stretch all the way from the farm to the processor
to consumers worried about the amount of trans fat in their diets, he