U.S. Soybean Growers' Foresight Credited with Industry's Strong Business Performance in Tough Economic Times
ST. LOUIS, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- With the U.S. economy in crisis, it's clear that strong domestic industries are essential, including food and agriculture. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated trans fat appear on products' Nutrition Facts label, companies rushed to reformulate products to reduce or eliminate trans fat content. The blow could have been harsh for American jobs in the agriculture sector of the economy. However, the nation's soybean farmers are reaping the rewards of a long-term strategy, launched more than a decade ago by the United Soybean Board (USB), to develop new soybeans for healthier oils.
"The soybean industry created a soy-based trans fat solution (called low-linolenic soybean oil) that changed the face of the market, and protected American livelihoods while delivering a healthier future from farm to table," notes Chuck Myers, chairman of USB and a farmer in Lyons, Nebraska.
Myers explains, "Without it, our economic analysis shows that food companies would have reduced their need for soybean oil by 894 million pounds, soybean production would have dropped by 25 million bushels, and farmers would have earned 10.8 cents less per bushel. The analysis shows we prevented a cumulative lost income for U.S. soybean producers of $703.2 million."
The loss would have affected farmers, but also the seed sector, grain elevators, edible oil processors and refiners, food manufacturers and many other aspects of the food industry. Food companies needed to take the trans out, and thanks in part to USB's leadership and the foresight of the industry, most products today are labeled with zero grams of trans fat.
Richard Cristol, president of the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers adds, "Soybean oil is a natural plant oil that is very important to the margarine industry. While the margarine industry began removing trans fats from its products well before the FDA labeling requirement, USB has been and continues to be a valued partner in developing and promoting healthful oils for the food industry, especially with regard to the reduction and elimination of trans fats."
Myers describes milestones in USB's trans fat leadership over the years, including:
As a result, food companies today can use low-linolenic soybean oil in light frying, sauces, rolls and pizza dough. Companies are also testing the next generation - increased-oleic soybean oil - for use in crackers, baked goods, margarines and shortenings. Beyond trans fat solutions, lowering saturated fat will support heart health and cholesterol reduction. USB's value chain analysis estimates high-oleic soybean oils to supply a $780 million average annual return in income throughout the industry. Mid-oleic, low-saturate oils will supply an estimated $1.495 billion average annual return over twenty years.
After first turning its attention to trans fat in the 1990s, USB continues to offer resources for a range of improvements from flavor and shelf stability to health benefits for the consumer. Food companies can take advantage of USB's online offerings and emailed newsletters for regular updates, visit USB at industry events such as tradeshows and conferences or even request USB deliver an oils expert to their corporate headquarters for an individualized consultation.
USB is comprised of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. For more information on soybean oil-based trans fat solutions, please visit www.soyconnection.com. For more information on the soybean checkoff, please visit www.unitedsoybean.org.
|SOURCE United Soybean Board|
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