Soybeans are fighting back. Soybean oil is still the most consumed vegetable oil in North America, but it’s been losing ground to canola, which is regarded as the healthiest vegetable oil because it contains just seven per cent saturated fat.
Part of canola’s gains have resulted from the development of high-stability, omega-9 oil. It has all the nutritional benefits of regular canola oil, plus the stability needed for commercial deep frying and food processing without any unhealthy trans fats because it hasn’t been hydrogenated.
But now the soybean sector has developed its own high-stability oil.
“It’s a real threat,” said Tyler Groeneveld, Dow AgroSciences’ market manager for omega-9 oils. “Soybean is trying to replicate and come up with a competitive profile to our omega-9 platform. It’s real.”
Earlier this year, the U. S. Department of Agriculture granted Monsanto’s new Vistive Gold soybean “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) status. Now companies can test Vistive Gold’s high-oleic oil in food, a prerequisite to commercialization.
According to Monsanto, its new soybean oil will be just as low in saturated fat as canola oil, contain zero trans fats and also stand up to long periods in a deep fryer.
Fast-food chains and food processors are slow to change, so the new soybean oil will have to prove itself, Groeneveld said.
“End-use customers still don’t know how it’s going to perform in terms of what’s going to be the sensory impact (and) how stable it’s going to be across broad environments,” he said. “There are lots of questions including how the large soybean crushers are going to be able to identity preserve a crop like that.”
Canola has been one step ahead of soybeans for many years, but soybeans’ bid to regain markets can’t be taken lightly, Groeneveld said.
“Canola has been one of the predominant oils that has taken share away from soybean oil,” he said. “But obviously the soybean oil industry is extremely powerful and would love to get some of that share back.” [email protected]
“It’s a real threat. Soybean is trying to replicate and come up with a competitive profile to our omega-9 platform. It’s real.”
– TYLER GROENEVELD, DOW AGROSCIENCES