Consumers and processors demand ever-higher quality from edible oils, and producers are working hard to make them happy.
According to market intelligence outfit Research and Markets, global demand for edible oils has increased steadily, and that rise will continue. The firm predicts the market volume will increase to 171 metric tons by 2017, up from 151 million metric tons in 2011.
As overall demand for edible oil increases, so do the qualities consumers and food manufacturers seek from the products. Stratas Foods representative Amanda Lewis told FoodProductionDaily.com that many of the demands processors place on edible oil are mirrored in the tastes of the end user.
“Today’s edible oil themes may be broken into the factors which apply to food products in general; taste, quality, convenience, and nutrition,” she said. “With respect to nutrition, the focus as of late has been in developing oil products and ingredients which are shelf stable while maximizing polyunsaturates use.”
Stratas Foods and other edible oil producers are working on creating customized oil blends. These are based on high-oleic oils and high-polyunsaturated oils, like soybean and canola.
One of the oils producers are creating is high-oleic soybean oil. Stratas offers Frymax Soy Supreme, a clear frying oil made from 100% high-oleic soybean oil.
“Frymax Soy Supreme has zero grams of trans fat per serving, and it provides outstanding fry live vs. traditional soybean or high-oleic canola oils,” Lewis said.
Stratas is a relatively young corporation, formed in 2008 as a partnership of ACH Food Companies (owned by Associated British Foods) and Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland. The joint effort, Lewis said, gives the new company several advantages over other oil producers.
“Perhaps the greatest benefit of our joint venture is the more than 200 years of combined experience in the fats and oils industry,” she said. “This is most evident in our refurbished Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) center, which enables Stratas' team of scientists to develop, test and prototype a wide range of innovative oil products.”
Stratas has production facilities and distribution centers across the US and Canada. Its current work includes exploring deep-frying oil solutions, highlighting mono- and polyunsatures that reportedly allow the flavor of food to endure through the process.
Stratas foods furnishes a range of edible oil products to food manufacturers and foodservice clients (most notably Buddy Valaro of the popular reality show Cake Boss). In addition, it produces retail oils and shortenings for private-label retail customers.