Anti-trans-fat trend presents market opportunities for farmers

The growing popularity of trans-fat free foods is presenting new market opportunities for soybean farmers. A new study looking at market demand for specialty trait soybean oils has found a definite potential for these products, and that the market may be willing to pay a premium price for them.

“The study shows definite market potential for soybean oils with specialty traits,” says David Lee, Project Director with the Soy 20/20 Project. “We’re always looking for new ways to grow and differentiate our soybean market and this presents a good opportunity for the industry.”

The growing trend to reduce or eliminate trans-fats from food products has created a need for edible oil products that are stable and do not require hydrogenation. New soybean varieties with different oil profiles are being developed to meet this demand, resulting in what are being called specialty trait soybean oils.

According to the study, the market’s demand for specialty trait soybean oils and its willingness to pay a premium price will be influenced by the ability to deliver on the price, availability, stability, consistency and quality of the finished product. This presents an opportunity for farmers to grow new, higher value soybean varieties, but also the need for additional crushing and processing capacity in Ontario.

To be successful, a crushing and processing venture should establish an exclusive alliance with a product developer, build an integrated supply chain, and work closely with those partners to market the resulting specialty products. A crush plant will also need to have identity preservation capacity to guarantee market access for the variety of different specialty train soybeans that can be grown in Ontario.

The study was conducted by JRG Consulting Group on behalf of Soy 20/20, Ontario Soybean Growers and Monsanto Canada. An executive summary of study results is available from Soy 20/20.

The Guelph-based Soy 20/20 Project brings together government, academic and industry partners to stimulate and seize new global bioscience opportunities for Canadian soybeans. It is a joint initiative of the Ontario Soybean Growers, University of Guelph, and by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs under the Agricultural Policy Framework.

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