A week ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration removed its "blessing" of partially hydrogenated oils, a primary source of artificial trans-fat in processed foods. FD labeled them as "not generally recognized as safe" for use in food.
That's the early-warn signal that the market for partially hydrogenated oils will is "headed south" – and we don't mean to warmer climates. But the U.S. soybean industry has been working for years to develop trans-fat-free varieties and oils.
And the change is already spurring growth in producer contracts for high oleic soybeans. By 2023, the United Soybean Board is projects the high oleic soy market to reach close to 17 million acres, with growth accelerating over the next 10 years.
And this week, DuPont Pioneer and Perdue AgriBusiness announced today that Perdue will more than double the acreage contracted for Plenish high oleic soybeans in 2014. Growers will be eligible for a Perdue-paid incentive for producing and delivering the identity-preserved soybeans.
Contract premiums will be 50 cents a bushel over posted elevator delivery price for harvest delivery, or 60 cents a bushel over posted elevator delivery price for on-farm storage. That's unchanged from 2013.
"We're always looking for ways to bring new market opportunities to our grower customers," said John Ade, Perdue AgriBusiness senior vice president. "By working with DuPont Pioneer on the production of Plenish high oleic soybeans on the Eastern Shore, we're hoping to generate additional profit opportunities and long-term industry growth."
The high oleic content significantly increases the stability of the oil and provides greater flexibility in food applications. Plenish high oleic soybean oil has zero grams of trans-fat per serving and 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil, making it a more attractive ingredient for consumer food products. High oleic soybean oil also generates demand from potential industrial markets for lubricants and engine oils.
Russell Stevens of Hurlock, Md., grew high oleic soybeans this year. Consider him a believer.
"I tried these varieties first in plots last year and saw them yield really well," he says. "They have a good pod set, yielded well, and we'll continue to grow them."
Farmers in Delaware, Maryland, eastern Ohio, southeast Pennsylvania and Virginia can grow them via contracts for delivery to Bunge or Perdue. To find out more about high oleic soybeans, visit www.soyinnovation.com .