October 2011/NutraSolutions -- Although close to two decades of clinical studies have identified negative impacts of saturated (SFA) and trans fats on cardiovascular disease (CVD), no single oil free of these “bad” fats has been available to food manufacturers.

Now, Dow AgroSciences has unveiled an “industry-first,” trans- and SFA- (<3.5%) free Omega-9 Sunflower Oil. Omega-9 Sunflower Oil is also uniquely high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (MUFA, >90%), which, in combination with its trans- and SFA-free profile, provides an exceptionally healthy product.

Significant evidence exists supporting the efficacy of MUFA for reduction of risk factors underlying metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease1. Consumption of dietary MUFA promotes healthy blood lipid profiles, mediates blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity and regulates glucose levels. The health benefits of low-SFA and -trans diets have also been widely documented2

Trans and SFA levels in foods are primary consumer concerns, with 58% seeking ways to include healthy fats and oils in their diet, according to the “2010 Gallup Study of Healthy Fats and Oils.” When reading the nutrition facts label, the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2011” survey found close to 60% of consumers said trans and SFA were very important considerations--an increase of 3% from 2010. And, recent concept research found consumers preferred an SFA-free label claim on a retail bottle of sunflower oil 5 to 1 over the same product labeled without the claim3.

“Omega-9 Sunflower Oil provides a very powerful ingredient advantage for food manufacturers, potentially allowing them to eliminate SFA from food products,” states David Dzisiak, commercial leader, Grains and Oils, for Dow AgroSciences.  The trend for omega-9 oils is expected to get stronger, based on the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommendations to replace SFA with MUFA and polyunsaturated fats. Using liquid vs. solid forms of fat is also called for in the Dietary Guidelines which, according to the FMI survey, resonates with consumers who frequently avoid partially hydrogenated oils that appear on food labels. “This new oil can truly impact purchasing behavior at the grocery store, when one considers that it is virtually all ‘good’ fat,” Dzisiak explains.

Not only do consumers and food manufacturers value healthy nutrition in an oil; taste and other sensory properties are important. In consumer sensory testing, Omega-9 Sunflower Oil was ranked at parity to canola and soybean oil on overall liking, taste and aroma, when these oils were used to stir-fry green beans4.

In addition to reducing or eliminating SFA from new front-of-pack labels now appearing on retail shelves, Omega-9 Sunflower Oil can support an all-natural package claim. This is because the oil comes from NEXERA™ non-genetically modified seeds, developed by Dow AgroSciences through traditional plant breeding. Because the oil is naturally stable, many formulations will not require antioxidants, TBHQ or partial hydrogenation to achieve the desired shelflife--allowing for a cleaner ingredient label.  NS

­-Kelley Fitzpatrick, Content Editor, NutraSolutions.com


1 Gillingham LG, et al. 2011. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids are protective against metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Lipids. 46(3):209-28.
2 Hunter JE, et al. 2010. Cardiovascular disease risk of dietary stearic acid compared with trans, other saturated, and unsaturated fatty acids: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 91(1):46-63.
3 Fleishman-Hillard Research. 2010. Sunflower oil consumer survey. Unpublished raw data.
4 Lee, S-Y. 2011. Evaluating differences in consumer acceptance of cooking oils in a stir-fried green bean application. Unpublished raw data.


For more information:
Dow AgroSciences • Indianapolis, Ind.
David Dzisiak • 403-735-8826