High oleic soy oil.
High oleic soy oil.

Customer demand impacts the price of soybeans at the elevator, so many farmers factor it into their planting decisions. New soybean varieties called high oleic could help farmers cash in on food customers’ need to reduce or eliminate trans fats.

In recent years, soybean oil lost demand from the food industry due to trans-fats labeling. However, U.S. soybean farmers can reclaim that demand through high oleic soybeans. This has farmers excited about the industry’s opportunity to reclaim lost market volume for U.S. soybean oil.

“With this new technology, high oleic soybeans will have a lot of possibilities and attract some of those customers back,” says farmer Larry Marek, an Iowa soybean farmer and a director on the United Soybean Board.

High oleic soybean oil has high heat stability, which eliminates the need for trans-fat-creating partial hydrogenation and makes it desirable to the frying and light-baking industries. The oil also offers neutral flavor. To be able to depend on a reliable and abundant supply of locally sourced high oleic oil, the food industry needs farmers to plant plenty of high oleic soybeans.

The soy checkoff expects that annual demand for the oil could be as high as 9 billion pounds by 2023. To supply it, U.S. soybean farmers will need to plant 18 million acres of high oleic soybeans.

“It’s very important that we create the supply by getting acres planted to high oleic soybeans,” adds Marek. “This will create profitability for farmers and for the entire soybean industry.”