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Heart-Healthy Product Development Competition 

CanolaInfo is pleased to sponsor a competition for Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Student Association members in North America to create heart-healthy food products low in saturated fat and free of trans fat.  Click here for more information.

Heart-Healthy Competition for CanolaInfo- 2014

Students Win With Healthy Snack (full news article, read here)

Heart-Healthy Competition for CanolaInfo- 2013

Breakfast Bar Wins IFT Heart-Healthy Competition (full news article, read here)

Heart-Healthy Competition for CanolaInfo- 2010-11

CanolaInfo and IFT Launch Product Development Competition (full news article, read here)

High Stability Canola Oil Demand Keeps Rising

Food processors and food service industries around the globe are adopting high stability character-trait canola oil for its functional and health qualities. The current anti trans fats trend has spurred other companies to switch to the more healthful canola oil.

Dow AgroSciences sells Omega-9 canola oil and Cargill sells Clear Valley Canola Oil both high stability low linolenic (lin) acid canola oils. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (SWP) is selling SP Craven low lin canola. High stability means the oil will not breakdown under commercial scale food production. Commodity canola is one of the most healthful oils available to consumers. But it requires hydrogenation for use in commercial applications.

"The trans fat issue isn't new to us," says Brent Zacharias, Canola Trait Marketing Specialist for Dow AgroSciences."We've been developing Nexera canola varieties and promoting Omega-9 canola oil properties for commercial use for many years. The consumer shift to healthy oils and the move away from hydrogenated oils is perfectly timed with the development of high stability canola oils and canola varieties. This shift certainly bodes well for canola growers."

Ernie Unger, Cargill's Director of Operations, says his company markets IMC high stability canola varieties that produce Clear Valley canola oils. He says canola is perfectly positioned to gain market share in North America as more and more commercial and domestic oil users make the switch from hydrogenated vegetable oils.

SWP introduced SP Craven on a few test acres last year. This coming season will be the first big offering to growers of the low lin crop, says Darcy Rafoss, Manager Seed Business Unit for SWP. He agrees that the trans fat issue is going to help improve demand for low lins, but demand has already been building."I expect eventually one-quarter to one-third of the canola acres will be character-trait varieties," says Rafoss. He adds that SWP will have more character-trait canola choices for growers within two years.

Given today's preference for heart-healthy oil, the new high stability canola varieties that keep canola's low saturated fat level gives them a definite market advantage, says Barb Isman, President of the Canola Council of Canada.

Dow AgroSciences has been producing Nexera canola varieties since 1997, but they also saw the need to develop end-use markets right along with these varieties.

"We are focused on leading the industry in value chain partnerships and developing relationships with new end-use customers interested in the unique marketing opportunity Nexera canola offers," says Zacharias."The market is ready for highly stable, healthy canola oil, and we see the move toward alternatives to trans fats as one way to increase the overall competitiveness of canola."

Japan has been a primary market for Omega-9 canola oil. Dow AgroSciences has worked with a number of groups in Japan (crushing companies, Japanese trading companies, and the various levels of ownership) to bring Omega-9 canola oil to Japanese consumers.

"The Japanese are traditionally more health conscious than North Americans. I'd say the Japanese market is a little more sophisticated. Where North Americans simply buy vegetable oil, the Japanese consumer oil market has many different segments."They're further along in assigning value to healthy and functional foods," says Zacharias.

Omega-9 canola oil has experienced significant growth in Japan in both retail and bottled oil on the shelf."In Japan, oil is often part of their gift-giving traditions. Omega-9 canola oil was first used as a premium oil given in a gift set." Although this business continues to grow, the major markets today are in retail bottle and food service.

The light taste of Omega-9 canola oil as well as its health attributes has made it a Japanese preference. It's labelled under descriptive names in Japan such as Healthy Lite.

Demand for low lin canola oil is also growing in North America. There are incredible opportunities in food processing and food service markets, says Zacharias."We're collaborating with our trade partners and calling directly on major food companies to make them aware of Omega-9 canola oil as the best low saturated, trans fat alternative. This is an unprecedented opportunity for canola to become the product of choice and develop incremental growth and value for the crop," he adds. It's easy to see why commercial and consumer markets are ready to welcome a healthy alternative to trans fats. Meanwhile, the premiums paid for high stability canola varieties offer growers a means to boost net returns over commodity canola.

"From grower, to processor, to end-user, Nexera canola contracts bring value. We estimate that so far growers have received over $34 million of incremental value over growing commodity canola."

In the spring of 2004, Dow AgroSciences introduced Nexera 800 Brand canola with the Clearfield trait. For 2005, the company will introduce Nex 828 CL and Nex 830 CL which can also be grown using the Clearfield Production System herbicides.

Cargill introduced the Roundup tolerant high stability hybrid Victory v1010 last year. This year it will offer IMC111RR and IMC209RR Roundup Ready canola varieties, says Gary Galbraith Canadian Production Manager for Cargill Specialty Canola Oils.

The returns that can be generated by low linolenic canola are substantial, says Zacharias. Low lin canola is a perfect response to the trends driving the food industry and consumers' health concerns. Its benefits stretch all the way from the farm to the processor to consumers worried about the amount of trans fat in their diets, he concludes.


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