Let's innovate together, Canola Council tells industry

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Canola Biodiesel

The Canola Council of Canada has said it wants to work with the
food industry to develop an improved form of the oil to increase
its appeal, amid international fears over its cost.

Global income growth is pushing up demand of canola oil in countries such China and India. At the same time however, the rising commodity price has deterred some potential overseas consumers. According to Leader Post, council president Joanne Buth said at the Crop Production Week conference this week: "We need to be able to provide them​ [the food industry] with the product now so they make one formulation change and they stay happy with canola and they don't look at going to a soy product when it becomes available. "So be there, be first, be faster." ​ The European Union is expected to bring in new measures to encourage food manufacturers to used more biofuels, and so canola-producing countries like Poland, Ukraine and Russia could emerge as competitors. As well as being used as a biofuel, canola oil has reported health benefits, and this has increased demand. The canola industry has been promoting canola health benefits, which include playing a positive role in reducing the threat of coronary disease. It is also an alternative to trans fat oils as it does not require hydrogenation and can be used successfully as a repeat use frying oil. The Canadian canola industry has said it expects to more than double production of the crop by 2015, and is counting on increased demand for heart-healthy oils to help it reach its objectives. The trade association has started an initiative to reach production levels of 15m tons over the next eight years. Rising costs of raw materials across the industry may make this a challenging target. Statistics Canada reported that the average cost of Canola in October 2007 was CDN$969.64, up from CDN$902.90 in July 2007. In April 2007, it was CDN$819.20, an 18.3 per cent increase in six months. Buth reportedly said it is important to aim for 15m tons, because that is the only way that the canola industry can keep it as a profitable alterative to soy, and a profitable crop. ​The Canola Council of Canada has set out three major steps to help it achieve its production objectives: capitalize on the rising demand for healthy foods; focus on innovation as a means to improve quality and better face competition from other oil crops; and increase yields and invest in research and development in the crop relative to its major competitor, soy. "Soy is behind us and we need to make sure that the research keeps us ahead of them, and that's why I mentioned that companies need to be brought onside now,"​ Buth said at the conference.

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