New SunOpta deal expands vegetable oil business

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fat

SunOpta is continuing its march into the organic vegetable oils sector as it announces a new deal with Daabon Organic USA to distribute organic palm oil products.

The Canadian natural ingredients company’s Grains and Foods Group will distribute Daabon’s product line of organic shortenings, stearins and olein, produced under the FreshPress brand from organic palm oil.

These products are sold primarily to the bakery industry for cookies, breads, muffins, pastries among others, and are expected to add approximately $2m in profitable revenues in 2009.

The new deal signifies an attempt by the company to broaden its range of organic, healthy ingredients options as companies seek alternatives to fats that have a fallen out of favor due to health concerns, such as trans fats.

It also follows the company’s recent joint venture with Colorado Mills of Lamar to develop a 35m pound oilseed refinery focused on expeller-pressed, trans-fat free sunflower oil and soy oil products, which is on target for a spring 2009 start-up.

The company said that the additional capacity from this is expected to generate annual revenues of about $10m and position it as a “strong player”​ in the fast growing organic vegetable oils sector.

Allan Routh, president of the group, commented: “As we continually seek to expand the companies healthy food solutions, the partnerships with both Daabon and Colorado Mills are key steps in this regard.

“The addition of palm fruit products which are certified organic, kosher certified and certified sustainable by ProForest is consistent with our objective to broaden our organic and natural vegetable oils business.

“These products further position the company to respond to manufacturers needs in the snack, baking, sauces and dressing industries with a wide range of ingredients for organic and natural food-use applications.''

Palm oil crop

Daabon has three organic palm tree plantations located on the western slopes of the Santa Marta mountain range in northern Colombia.

John McCloskey, Daabon’s commercial director, said: “The nature of our organic palm oil business in the US has changed and Daabon USA is at the point where we see a need to bring additional resources to the market.”

He added that SunOpta would help provide the additional service and support necessary to develop the its palm oil business to the next level.

Palm oil is used in a diverse range of food formulations including bread and crisps and as a substitute to dairy fat.

It is considered an alternative to trans fats which are being removed from many formulations as they have been linked to health risks as diverse as cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.

The FreshPress range of products are said to raise HDL (or good) cholesterol, are high in anti-oxidants, and are not genetically modified.

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