Industry News | April 17, 2012

High Oleic Soybean Oils Grow in Popularity

New research reveals active testing of high oleic soybean oils by foodservice operators. In a recent foodservice industry study conducted by the United Soybean Board (USB), 29 percent say their companies are already testing high oleic soybean oils (the first of which just reached commercialization in June 2011) in their operations.

Eighty percent of respondents report general awareness of high oleic soybean oils, with one quarter being “very aware” of these enhanced oils.

Read QSR’s story describing how high oleic soybean oil can help restaurants.

“High oleic soybean oils offer high heat stability and improved functionality for the operator, as well as better-for-you menu items for the customer,” says oils expert Don Banks, president of Edible Oil Technology and consultant for USB. “More than 40 companies are already testing high oleic soybean oils and I’d expect that number to accelerate over the next year.”

Ninety percent of survey respondents report interest in oils with reduced saturated fat and/or reduced trans fat. Whether frying, sautéing, or baking, high oleic soybean oils offer a solution with zero grams of trans fat and 20 to 60 percent less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil.

“Foodservice operators face challenges with maintaining popular fried menu items while adjusting to fit changing consumer expectations surrounding nutrition and dining out,” Banks says.

The neutral taste of high oleic soybean oils allows the flavors of the dish to shine through and improves the consistency of food flavors. And with OSIs (Oil Stability Index) at 110 C exceeding 25 hours, high oleic soybean oils support extended fry life, benefiting foodservice operators with less waste, translating into cost savings.

Anecdotally, evidence from one company reports more than 90 hours of fry life with its french fries.

Other Key Study Findings

  • Foodservice professionals report current use of canola (53 percent), soybean (43 percent), and olive oil (37 percent)
  • Nearly half of survey respondents say lower trans and saturated fat options for cooking and frying will have the largest impact on their business this year, followed by moving away from fried foods at 17 percent; cost at 15 percent; and educating consumers on fats and health perceptions of oils at 7 percent
  • When testing new cooking oils, respondents indicate flavor stability and taste as the most important factors, followed by price/cost, mouth feel, and shelf life
  • Despite economically challenging times, 83 percent of foodservice professionals are likely to pay a premium for enhanced performance oils
  • About one-quarter say they use social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, for researching ingredients or menu applications