New USDA labeling requirements spur changes in product development


In late 2018, the USDA released the requirements for labeling genetically modified ingredients and although mandatory compliance is not until January 1st, 2022, some food manufacturers have indicated that they will start identifying these ingredients as early as 2020. As a result, now is the time to closely examine your product ingredient deck and consider replacing your fats and oils with non-GMO sunflower oil.   Not only will sunflower oil provide a cleaner label, but it may also improve your product.

How can sunflower oil improve product formulations?

Sunflower oil is premium oil that comes in both mid-oleic and high oleic formats. Since sun oil is high in monounsaturated fat and contains only a trace of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat, it is more stable than many other oils and as a result, it will provide a longer shelf life to many foods. In addition, studies show that sunflower oil is a superior fry oil that is very stable and has a longer fry life than many other oils, including high oleic canola and high oleic soybean oils.  Sun oil has a very high smoke point and there is less absorption of sun oil into food when it is par-fried or fried, therefore creating lighter tasting foods.

Do you need an oil with a neutral taste?

Perhaps you are creating a marinade or a snack food that has flavorful seasonings? Or you may need a non-GMO oil for non-dairy beverages, “free-from” foods or spray oil for fruits, nuts or desserts to prevent mold growth and extend shelf life. If you are looking for an oil that does not overpower the flavor of other ingredients, then sunflower oil is an excellent solution, due to its neutral taste.

Are health benefits important to your formulation?

Recently the FDA approved a new qualified health claim that applies to sunflower oil. It suggests that daily consumption of 1 ½ tablespoon of oils containing high oleic acid, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.¹ All high oleic sunflower oil and some mid-oleic sunflower oil qualify for this claim.  In addition, sunflower oil is low in saturated fat and you may wish to consider using sun oil as a partial substitute for the saturated fat in your products. Research shows that replacing some of the high saturated fat with sun oil results in food products with the same taste and texture, and a healthier nutrition profile.

Whether you are creating better-for-you snacks, plant-based foods, or pantry staples, sun oil will not only meet your functional requirements, but it may also increase your sales.  In fact, in a 2018 consumer survey, 71 percent of respondents indicated that they are interested in purchasing products made with sunflower oil.²

If you are curious about how sunflower oil will perform in your product formulations, contact a sunflower oil supplier or contact the National Sunflower Association at (701) 328-5100.

¹ Edible oils must contain at least 70% oleic acid and need to be substituted for saturated fats.

² Omnibus survey hosted on the Maru/Blue Research Forum on October 22, 2018.

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