Demand for canola oil has soared in recent years as food manufacturers have sought ways to slash trans fats from their products. Trans fats in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are attractive to food manufacturing firms because they are cheap, more solid at room temperature than other oils, and extend the shelf life of foods, but evidence has mounted over the past decade that links their consumption to increased risk of heart disease.
Canola oil’s stability and its high monounsaturated fat content means it has become a commonly used alternative to partially hydrogenated oils for food manufacturers.
Bunge said that the expansion of its Altona plant will bring processing capacity from 1,100 metric tons a day to 2,500 metric tons a day, with the new production capability expected to be ready in time for the 2012 harvest, provided that the plant receives the necessary approvals.
Bunge’s country manager in Altona Rick Watson said in a statement: “From Altona, we can serve most of Bunge's oil packaging plants and major food manufacturers as well as efficiently transport meal to key dairy states in the upper Midwest."
President and CEO of Bunge North America Soren Schroder said: "Canada remains a very important region to Bunge's growth strategy because of the increasing global demand for canola oil and meal and the growth potential of canola seed production in Canada. We are committed to expanding our presence in Canada and this project will improve efficiencies along a fully integrated chain from farmers, to food and feed manufacturers."