When farmers go to the fields in a few weeks, a growing number will be planting a new kind of soybean, a variety designed to help the soybean industry regain market share in the vegetable market. Since 2008 soybean farmers have lost over 25% of the soy-oil market because of the elimination of transfats from most processed food products. Now the United Soybean Board has launched a program to encourage growers to produce a new soybean variety that produces no transfats when processed into soybean oil.
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. Mark Curtis, past chairman of the United Soybean Board, told HAT that new High Oleic seed varieties will be available this spring, “Pioneer will be in the field their variety this year, and Monsanto will have theirs ready by next year.”
He said, unlike earlier varieties, these new genetics will be top performers. He said there will be significant acreage planted to High Oleic soybeans in Indiana and Ohio this year and USB is working to encourage growers in other areas to give the program a try, “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.
Curtis says the new technology is on track to have worldwide regulatory approval by next year which will eliminate the need for strict IP requirements. He added eastern Indiana and western Ohio have good systems in place and will see increased acreage in the 2013 season.
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.