Farmer-led effort aims to reconquer oil market
The U.S. soy industry has lost 4 billion pounds of soy-oil demand each year since 2008, and soybean farmers are at risk of losing even more. But a new market-development campaign just announced by the soy checkoff aims to take back that demand with high oleic soy.
The program will promote the benefits of high oleic soy oil to farmers, who will be asked to grow high oleic varieties, and the food companies and industrial-product manufacturers, which will be using the oil. The promising new oil could build more than 8 billion pounds of demand for U.S. soy in the food and industrial sectors. That's the oil from 718 million bushels of soybeans.
"High oleic soy oil's increased functionality and stability gives it the potential to take back lost edible-oil market share and expand the use of soy oil in industrial applications," says Jim Call, United Soybean Board vice chair and a soybean farmer from Madison, Minn. "It's about meeting our customers' needs, and high oleic does just that."
The checkoff plans to communicate high oleic's market potential to farmers and encourage them to grow the varieties when they become available in their areas. The checkoff has already partnered with two seed companies with high oleic varieties in the approval pipeline, DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto, to make the varieties available to as many farmers as possible as quickly as possible.
To help build demand for high oleic oil, the checkoff will make the oil available to food manufacturers and food-service companies for performance and product-formulation tests. The checkoff will also partner with chefs, build recipes and hold cooking demonstrations to promote the oil.
Industrial product manufacturers are another targeted group, which will learn about high oleic's stability and functionality in order to expand soy's use in industrial applications.
"The checkoff is working hard to make varieties available to farmers and grow the demand for the oil," says Call. "It's important for the future of the U.S. soy industry."
For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.