Plenish beans present no-trans fat opportunity for growers

Senior Editor

(July 7, 2015) “Get trans fat out of U.S. food.”
That’s what the FDA has mandated, a move that experts say could have a multi-billion dollar impact — not to mention a multi-million acre opportunity for soybean growers.
The trans fat ban is expected to ignite new interest in growing soybeans that have high oleic oil content, which have many of the stability and functionality of partially hydrogenated oils, minus the trans fats
Enter Plenish, the high oleic soybean from Dupont-Pioneer which is growing right now on an estimated 50,000 acres in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey under a partnership agreement between DuPont-Pioneer and Perdue.
A Perdue spokesman said the company was expecting to pick up more growers “due to the new Group 1V variety availably for Delmarva.”
There are an estimated 200,000 acres elsewhere in the soybean marketplace planted to Plenish for this growing season.
Perdue has named 10 stations where the Plenish beans may be delivered, eight in Maryland and one each in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Plenish growers will be eligible for a Perdue-paid incentive for producing and delivering the high oleic soybeans.
As in 2014, the incentives will be 50 cents per bushel for beans delivered from the field, and 60 cents a bushel for beans placed in storage for delivery upon demand.
“We have been on a pace of approximately doubling our production of Plenish brand soybeans with our processing partners in each of the last three production seasons,” a DuPont spokesperson said. “Perdue’s growth is consistent with that trend. Overall, Pioneer brand Plenish soybeans will be on 200,000 acres in the United States this year and early indications point to a significant increase again in 2016.”
Another company official said DuPont was hoping to double that acreage in 2016.
“High oleic soybeans represent a key evolution in soybean farmers’ ability to meet the needs of our customers,” said American Soybean Association president and Texas farmer Wade Cowan. “But we’ve emphasized to FDA all along that we need the time to get the high oleic trait integrated into soybean varieties and approved in overseas markets so we can produce what the industry demands.”
These high oleic oils, such as Plenish and Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans, require several components, soy scientists say. These soybeans have to be bred for nutritional content, stability during cooking and frying, and even flavor profile.
That, plus a positive sustainability story, could give high oleic soybeans the edge over potential competitors such as palm oil, which has a higher saturated fat content and is linked to rampant deforestation concerns in Indonesia, where it is primarily grown.
“Soybean oil contains no trans fat, is low in saturated fat, is sustainable and is broadly available for the food industry here in the United States,” Cowan said. “We hope our partners in the food industry will utilize the timeframe FDA has provided.”