Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to expand its range of low trans fat oils for the food industry by teaming up with biotech giant Monsanto to process some of the company's Vistive low-linolenic soybeans this year.
The food-processing and agricultural-services firm said it will contract growers for up to 40,000 acres of Vistive soybeans, or 8 percent of the total amount of the beans to be grown in 2006. It will then process the beans at its facility in Frankfort, Indiana.
Monsanto's Vistive low-linolenic soybeans, which claim to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids in soybean oil, were launched in 2004, after ten years in development. According to the company, the beans, which contain less than 3 per cent linolenic acid, compared to 8 per cent for traditional soybeans, have enjoyed significant success on the back of an industry move to slash the trans fat content of foods.
And because Vistive beans, which were developed through conventional breeding methods, contain lower linolenic acid levels, soy oil made from the beans contains less trans fats due to a reduction in the need for partial hydrogenation.
"Low-linolenic soybean oil developed from Vistive soybeans will be a valuable addition to ADM's NovaLipid portfolio of zero/low trans fat products," said Tedd Kruse, vice president for ADM's North American Food Oils.
"As the essential link between farmers and food manufacturers, ADM is pleased to work with American farmers to create additional value for their products while at the same time providing food manufacturers with healthier ingredients," he added.
And because of the mounting pressure on the food industry to reduce levels of trans fats in products, Monsanto says its bean last year enjoyed good demand.
Indeed, cereal giant Kellogg recently became the first major food manufacturer to announce its use of soybean oil derived from Vistive beans to create healthier alternatives to some if its products.
"We contracted all available Vistive soybeans in 2005, so we know that this product is in demand. We are very pleased to partner with an industry leader like ADM to ensure a successful expansion of Vistive soybeans in 2006," said Ernesto Fajardo, vice president of US Crop Production for Monsanto.
"Vistive not only supports growing consumer demand for healthier foods, but also represents an important investment in the future success of the US soybean industry. In addition, this agreement expands the growing area for Vistive, giving more farmers the opportunity to grow this value-added soybean," he added.