ST. LOUIS -- In response to demand for healthier foods without trans fats, VISTIVE(TM) low-linolenic soybeans will be more broadly available in 2007, through additional seed brands and more processing facilities.

VISTIVE soybeans are currently growing on 500,000 acres in the Midwest, with distribution expected to increase to 1.5 million to 2 million acres (driven by food company demand) in 2007.

More than 75 percent of last year's VISTIVE producers planted VISTIVE soybeans again this year, and many doubled their acreage. Initially introduced to Iowa growers in 2005, VISTIVE distribution was expanded this season to growers in parts of Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Michigan. For 2007, further expansion is planned to Ohio, Delaware, and Maryland.

VISTIVE has added 16 new seed brands in 2007, for a total of 28, including Monsanto's Asgrow(R) brand. Two new processors will be added, bringing the total to eight companies with delivery/crush options at 14 locations for these processors (up from 11 in 2006).

Beginning Jan. 1 of this year, the FDA required manufacturers to list trans fat content on packaging, which is helping to drive the demand to reduce trans fats. For example, the Kellogg Company began using VISTIVE low-linolenic oil to reduce trans fat in its products. These food products have been on grocery-store shelves since early 2006, and other food companies are following suit.

Monsanto has pledged to make VISTIVE low-linolenic soybeans and future soybean products in the VISTIVE portfolio available exclusively to North American farmers for as long as they can support global demand.

"Monsanto's commitment to U.S. and Canadian farmers means we will be growing the value-added products here in North America to meet the demand," says John Hoffman, newly elected first vice president of the American Soybean Association. "This means VISTIVE soybeans will not go overseas, so it's a huge competitive advantage for U.S. soybean producers."

VISTIVE soybeans contain 3 percent low-linolenic oil compared to 8 percent for conventional soybeans. The low-linolenic oil content enables food processors to use VISTIVE oil as a substitute for hydrogenated soybean oil that contains unhealthy trans fats.

VISTIVE(TM) and Asgrow(R) are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.

SOURCE: Monsanto Company via PR Newswire.