Canola oil and seed: A breed apart

Mervyn de Souza
Senior Manager
Cargill Specialty
Canola Oils division

Cargill's ingredient oil customers want heart-healthy solutions that protect their brand as consumer expectations expand and regulations tighten. That means cooking oils that not only have an excellent fatty acid profile (low saturated fat and no trans fat) but that boast a clean, appealing flavor without being cost-prohibitive.

In response, we harness expertise from across Cargill — trait breeding, grains and oils, seed crushing, food researchers and applications scientists—to generate unique oil blends. For instance, we recently introduced Clear Valley® 80 High-Oleic Canola Oil, a first-of-its-kind product due to its low levels of saturated fat, zero grams trans fat (per 14-gram serving) and > 60% higher stability than any other high oleic vegetable oil.  Most importantly, customers can reduce their cost of packaging by reformulating with Clear Valley® 80 High-Oleic Canola Oil.  Canola is an ideal substitute for partially hydrogenated oils. One of the healthiest oils in the marketplace, canola has zero trans fat and cholesterol and the lowest amount of saturated fat of all common culinary oils. What's more, it is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided for a qualified health claim for canola oil due to its unsaturated fat content and ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

The beauty of working with Cargill is that we can ensure the supply of such specialty oils to our customers—even in tough growing years like this one that might mean less access for non-Cargill customers. That's because we're also a seed company that works with canola growers to meet their productivity goals through optimal traits for high yield and desirable oil properties.

We contract with growers all over the world to optimize our canola traits and extend our growing season. Our breeding and trait-development team is located in Ft. Collins, Colo.; Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, Canada (our primary production area); and Horsham, Victoria, Australia. We also work with growers in Chile to extend our growing season by planting when it is winter in the northern hemisphere and in North Dakota to contract acres as needed.

Multiple collaborations across the globe give us access to unique material to introduce into our breeding pipeline that will produce the high-performance hybrids of the future.  As a company that grows, produces and markets canola seeds and oil, we can ensure an uninterrupted supply with quality management all along the supply chain. Now, if that's not a high-value trait, I don't know what is.

Mervyn de Souza, senior manager of trait breeding and development in Cargill's Specialty Canola Oils division, has masters degrees in biochemistry and microbial engineering and a PhD in biochemistry. He has been with Cargill for 14 years.