`Olive Oil’s High-Oleic Rivals Mounting

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Olive Oil’s High-Oleic Rivals Mounting

Feb. 27, 2013
Julie Butler

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Look out olive oil. Pro­duc­tion of high-oleic acid soy­bean oil is set to rise 20-fold in less than five years and biotech giants Mon­santo and DuPont expect food indus­try demand to grow fast.

Engi­neered to be high in the heart-healthy monoun­sat­u­rated fat olive oil is famed for, nearly 50,000 tons of the new soy­bean oil are due to be made in the United States this year. But out­put is to soar to 143,000 tons next year and more than a mil­lion in 2017, with exports then exceed­ing 31,000 tons and 1.9 mil­lion hectares under cul­ti­va­tion.

The pro­jec­tions are in a dis­cus­sion paper pro­duced by the U.S. for this week’s Codex Com­mit­tee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) meet­ing — which started Mon­day in Penang — seek­ing inclu­sion of a stan­dard for high-oleic soy­bean oil in the Codex stan­dard for veg­etable oils.

New gen­er­a­tion soy­bean oil health­ier, more sta­ble

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The U.S. says the stan­dard would facil­i­tate global trade in the new oil, which it expects to soon gain wide accep­tance thanks to its increased sta­bil­ity and shelf life. The lat­ter are crit­i­cal fac­tors in food pro­cess­ing and fry­ing, where nearly 80 per­cent of all soy­bean oil is used, and would off­set the oil’s ini­tial higher price.

The high-oleic ver­sion also avoids devel­op­ment of unhealthy trans fats by elim­i­nat­ing the need for hydro­gena­tion.

Mid-oleic sun­flower oil became avail­able in 1998 and by 2005 cap­tured most of the sun­flower oil mar­ket in North Amer­ica. But as the improved func­tion­al­ity of mid- and high-oleic oils is now more widely known, demand for high-oleic soy­bean oil will increase even more rapidly,” the U.S. antic­i­pates.

Accord­ing to the soy­bean indus­try coali­tion Qual­isoy, DuPon­t’s Pio­neer sub­sidiary was the first in the ring with Plen­ish, a high-oleic soy­bean deliv­er­ing a fry-life 2 – 3 times con­ven­tional soy­bean oil’s, and next was Mon­santo with Vis­tive® Gold, which fur­ther­more promises less sat­u­rated fat.

Both used the biotech process gene silenc­ing to increase oleic acid con­tent. DuPont boasts a level of more than 75 per­cent, sim­i­lar to olive oil.” In com­par­i­son, the Amer­i­can Oil Chemists’ Soci­ety says that the newest gen­er­a­tion of high-oleic canola oil is up to 80 per­cent oleic acid and dom­i­nates the high oleic mar­ket.

Colom­bia and Argentina also push­ing for new high-oleic oil stan­dards

Mean­while, Colom­bia is also seek­ing a Codex stan­dard, for a high-oleic ver­sion of reg­u­lar palm oil — neck and neck with soy­bean as the most con­sumed veg­etable oil glob­ally. Pro­duc­tion of the high oleic vari­ety, called OxG, is fore­cast to reach 210,000 tons in Latin Amer­ica alone by 2015, with 170,000 tons avail­able for export.

And Argentina wants a stan­dard cov­er­ing its high stearic, high-oleic sun­flower oil.

The CCFO has pre­vi­ously approved cre­ation of sep­a­rate stan­dards for high-oleic saf­flower oil and high-oleic sun­flower oil. It is respon­si­ble for world­wide stan­dards for fats and oils designed to pro­tect con­sumer health and ensure fair trade.

Con­cerns in olive oil sec­tor

The increase in high oleic alter­na­tives comes as the olive oil sec­tor itself tries to raise global aware­ness of its prod­ucts’ health ben­e­fits and suit­abil­ity for fry­ing and wider food man­u­fac­ture. In Spain, for instance, the Plan Frit­uras” ini­tia­tive pro­motes rea­sons to use olive oil instead of refined oils in hos­pi­tal­ity and food ser­vice.

Spain’s olive oil sec­tor — which last year rejected a Euro­pean Union claim it was over­pro­duc­ing olive oil — is said to have raised con­cerns with its gov­ern­ment over the mar­ket impact of more high- oleic oils. But while gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives from around the world are attend­ing the CCFO meet­ing, the peak body for the olive oil sec­tor, the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil, is not, due to a pre­vi­ously reported bud­get prob­lem.



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