R&D: Flaxseed & Canola Oil Blend Offers Omega-3 Stability -- December 2010

The statistics are impressive. Some 74% of consumers believe there are health benefits to the inclusion of omega-3s in their diet, and 58% indicate using omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) improves overall heart health1. Sales of omega-3 products grew 42% in 2009,2 and 36% of in-store shoppers say they usually or always choose foods high in omega-3 fatty acids3. Numerous clinical studies support the heart-health properties of ALA--with positive effects on blood lipid levels, blood pressure and inflammation4.

In order to meet the demands of its customers for high-stability sources of omega-3 oil, Cargill has unveiled an ALA-fortified cooking oil sourced from canola seed and flax seed, marketed under its Clear Valley line. According to Cargill, the oil offers consumers a good source of omega-3, and through use of a proprietary natural antioxidant blend, eliminates possible taste and formulation challenges involved with oils derived from omega-3 sources.

Unlike omega-3 from sources such as fish oil, the ALA omega-3 from flax seed and canola seed tastes neutral and will not interfere with established flavor profiles, says the company. In a presentation during 2010 IFT, Lorin DeBonte, Ph.D., assistant vice president and technical director of Cargillís Specialty Canola Oils, noted, ìincorporating the volume of polyunsaturated oil required to make an omega-3 product claim is often difficult in products that already have a low fat content, such as crackers and cereals.î

Heart-healthy Positioning
Clear Valley Omega-3 Oil contains up to 30% ALA omega-3 and provides a minimum of 160mg of ALA per serving in most applications. Using the oil gives food manufacturers the opportunity to make ìgood source of ALA omega-3î or ìexcellent source of ALA omega-3î nutrient content claims5, as well as structure/function claims (such as ìwith omega-3 ALA to help support a healthy heartî).

The fact that the oil is low in saturated fatty acids (less than 7%) and features Cargillís high-oleic canola oil as a base adds to the productís valuable heart-health positioning. The oil is shelf-stable for 9-12 months, exhibiting 25 hours of oxidative stability using OSI. Additionally, there is no need for food formulators to modify their recipes or formulasóthey can simply replace their existing oil with the Omega-3 Oil. The special antioxidant blend ensures the oil will not ìgum upî processing lines due to excessive polymerization; require special handling; or slow down production, says the company.

DeBonte noted, ìCargillís truly innovative Clear Valley Omega-3 Oil is the heart-healthy, on-trend ingredient that can help food formulators meet the demands of consumers and health professionals for omega-3--with the added advantages of differentiating their products and dominating competitive brands.î NS
--Kelley Fitzpatrick, Content Editor, NutraSolutions.com

1  MarketTools 2010 consumer research.
2  Nielsen, 2010.
3  HealthFocus International, 2009.
4  Vos E and Cunnane SC. 2003. Linolenic acid, linoleic acid, coronary artery disease, and overall mortality (letter). Am J Clin Nutr. 77: 521-522.
5 On products that contain less than 1g fat per serving.

For more information:
Cargill ï Hopkins, Minn.
Willie Loh, Ph.D. ï 952-984-9025
Willie_Loh@cargill.com ï www.cargill.com