Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., said it has found a solution to reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids while also minimizing the saturated fat contents of its products. However, the solution, low-linolenic soybean oil, is in short supply, and a concerted effort between soybean farmers, seed producers and food manufacturers is needed to increase supplies to necessary levels, Kellogg says.
According to the United Soybean Board, about 200,000 acres of low-linolenic soybean varieties were planted in 2005, and a million acres are expected to be planted in 2006. If Kellogg's hunch about the value of low-linolenic soybeans is correct, significantly more acres will have to be planted to replace the more than five billion pounds of partially hydrogenated soybean oil annually used in the United States.
Kellogg has accepted a leadership position by investing in low-linolenic soybean oil, and now must convince farmers and seed producers to increase acreage of this variety. The company initially plans to use Monsanto's Vistive® low-linolenic soybean oils in some of its products in early 2006. The company also will work with the Bunge/DuPont Biotech Alliance to incorporate Nutrium® low-linolenic soybean oil in products by 2007. By partnering with competing suppliers, Kellogg hopes to spread the wealth and ensure increased acreage.
"Kellogg is providing the leadership needed to expedite the commercialization of low-lin soybean varieties," John Becherer, chief executive officer of the soybean industry's Qualisoy™ initiative and CEO of United Soybean Board, said. "With Kellogg's decision to begin reformulating some of its products with low-lin soybean oil, we now have the impetus for expediting production of soybean enhancements that will better meet the needs of the food industry and ultimately the consumers."