Rising health consciousness among consumers is driving demand for healthier product alternatives in restaurants, on grocery store shelves, and in the beauty aisle. Buzzwords like ‘clean,’ ‘natural,’ and ‘organic’ dominate product labels across these industries. The oil industry has not escaped this trend and has experienced a transformation over the past several years to meet this growing consumer demand
When it comes to oils, health-conscious consumers scan labels closely to ensure the products they buy include descriptions like ‘extra virgin,’ ‘cold-pressed,’ and ‘non-GMO.’ But perhaps, more importantly, they are avoiding specific terms like ‘refined’ and ‘hydrogenated’ on labels.
Partially hydrogenated oil has taken an especially tough hit over the past few decades. Studies have identified a connection between the high levels of trans-fat in hydrogenated oils and an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. To address these concerns, manufacturers have reformulated their products to remove trans-fat, and consumers have altered their purchasing behavior toward healthy alternatives. One trans-fat-free alternative stepping up to fill the void is high oleic oil.
What is high oleic oil?
High oleic refers to oleic acid level, also known as monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, found in an oilseed. Monounsaturated fat is considered healthy; in fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that oleic oil, when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fats, may reduce coronary heart disease risk.
To be classified as high oleic, a seed will have over 70% oleic acid. This standard is accomplished through breeding or genetically modifying a conventional seed, depending on seed type.
The primary high oleic seeds in the market today are soy, sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, olive, and algal seeds.
The growth of high oleic oil across industries
According to a report by Expert Market Research, the global market for high oleic oil is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% from 2021-2026 to reach 290 billion USD by 2026. Growth is attributed to increased demand in the food manufacturing industry and increased application in cosmetic products.
In addition to addressing heart health concerns, restaurants and food manufacturers can benefit from reducing linolenic and linoleic acids in their products. A low level of linolenic acid in the oil extends the life of fryer oil, providing efficiency and convenience to restaurants. Moderate linoleic acid levels deliver high stability and high intensity of fried flavors. Low levels of linolenic and linoleic acids prevent rancidity in storage, resulting in shelf-stable food products for manufacturers.
In the cosmetics industry, an increasing number of skin and hair products use high oleic oil as a key ingredient. Oleic oil is credited with increasing vitamins in the products, promoting skin and hair hydration, and contains anti-aging properties. Similar to the food industry practices, the oil can be manipulated to increase shelf life and create a neutral flavor profile and scent.
Additionally, a recent study conducted by Harvatine at Penn State has caught the attention of dairy farmers. According to the study, roasted high oleic soybeans can benefit dairy cows. The study compared the diet of dairy cows with conventional soybeans to those with high oleic soybeans in their feed. The high oleic soybean diet resulted in .17 units higher milk fat concentration and .2 pounds higher milk fat yield. Ongoing studies will further guide farmers in designing an energy-dense diet while minimizing the risk for diet-induced milk fat depression in dairy cows.
Other industries reporting increased use of high oleic oil are biodiesel, plastics and rubber, coatings, paints, and inks.
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Meeting the demand
The good news for oil processors is that high oleic oilseeds do not require special equipment different from their conventional counterparts. Processors who want to take advantage of the growing demand for high oleic oil will find that a high-shear extruder and expeller press combination are ideal for processing these in-demand products. The Anderson Expeller® and high-shear Dox™ Extruder system can process high oleic oil efficiently and meet the needs of consumers looking for more natural, less refined products.
Anderson’s Expeller can press over 100 metric tons per day in a single machine with residuals as low as 5-6% when paired with the Dox. With minimal modifications, the Expeller can change from one oilseed application to another, allowing adaptation for market shifts and fluctuations.
Pairing the Expeller with the high-shear Dox will also double a processor’s capacity and offer more product type flexibility. The high-shear dry extruder mechanically shears, cooks, and dries the materials being processed for improved oil recovery. The heat treatment also deactivates trypsin inhibitors and urease enzymes, an essential feature for processing high oleic soybeans.
The Dox is a unique form of dry extrusion that does not use an external heat source during product cooking. Instead, dry extrusion relies solely on the heat generated from the material’s friction as it passes through the barrel by a screw.
Another benefit for high oleic oilseed processors is that the Dox is the only extruder on the market to date with an optional drainage cage. High oleic seeds like sunflower and rapeseed range from 40-60% oil by weight. When you subject these seeds to friction and high pressure in an extruder, they will release significantly more oil than a lower density seed like soybean. The drainage cage allows excess oil to drain off so it does not flood the machine and can more efficiently break down the cell structure and mechanically cook the seed.
With the right equipment, processors can set themselves up for success and benefit from the increasing demand for high oleic oil across industries. The Anderson Expeller and Dox increase processing efficiency with low CAPEX and OPEX, and allow manufacturers to adapt to market shifts, fluctuations, and seed types.
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