Vice President, Marketing
Cargill Oils and Shortening
The current economic stagnation coupled with very high commodity prices has led food manufacturers to understandably become very price-sensitive. At Cargill, we're always trying to find ways to help our customers promote their products while saving costs.
One example of our cost-saving innovations is our new Clear Valley® 80 high-oleic canola oil, which debuted in June. This oil offers a shelf life of 18 to 20 months. While this level of stability is more than is needed, it offers a clear benefit when it comes to packaging: Because Clear Valley 80 resists oxidation, it requires less packaging to protect processed foods from light and oxygen. When you consider that packaging is by far the most expensive part of most products, manufacturers can enjoy significant cost savings by using only one oxygen barrier layer as opposed to, say, five.
Another example is our Clear Valley® Omega-3 Oil (FoodProcessing.com mentioned our Clear Valley Omega-3 oil in its article Oils, Gluten-Free in Baking Spotlight as well as in its article Food Processors Welcome A Gush of Omega Oils). Omega-3 fatty acids have achieved the highest awareness of any functional ingredient by American consumers. They outpace even calcium and fiber in consumer perceptions of their nutritional benefits. Food manufacturers thus have a strong incentive to fortify their products with omega-3s for consumer appeal.
However, the most common sources of omega-3s are fish oil and a product of algae fermentation. Not only are these sources very expensive, but products derived from them require additional manufacturing because they lack stability. Together, these two factors can make omega-3 fortification cost-prohibitive.
Our solution to this problem is a unique flax-canola oil blend that is high in the short-chain omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Clear Valley Omega-3 Oil is a drop-in solution that allows food manufactures to make an ALA omega-3 nutrient content claim with as little as 1.07 grams of fat per serving in their shelf-stable products. This creates an opportunity for increased market share and/or higher product pricing. Using Clear Valley Omega-3 Oil also offers a more consumer friendly ingredient statement.
Of course, ALA supplementation would be of little value if consumers found this type of fatty acid less desirable than its long-chain counterparts. However, in tests, consumers were equally interested in short-chain omega-3 fatty acids for heart health. Just as important, Clear Valley Omega-3 Oil offers a clean, neutral taste and no fishy odor, even after 12 months of shelf life testing.
In today's competitive, price-pressured market, Cargill is the company to turn to for a partnership that pays off. Whether it's through reduced packaging or identification of alternative sources of fortification, we work hard to help our customers create quality products that are affordable.
Willie Loh is the vice president of marketing for Cargill Oils and Shortening. He has been with Cargill for 16 of his 25 years in the industry.