Earlier this year, the Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers donated 35-gallon jugs of Plenish® high oleic soybean oil to 14 area restaurants to sample in their kitchens.
“We wanted to get this out to the masses and get ahead of the game by showing this is a healthy cooking oil,” says Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers Association President Matt Widboom. “We learned from our first time doing this that restaurants were hugely impressed with it.”
The restaurants again returned with a verdict that mostly signaled the same tone: high oleic soybean cooking oil received high marks from cooks because it stayed cleaner, featured a longer fry life and improved the quality and aesthetics of the food.
“The high oleic oil was awesome – the food was golden brown and looked excellent,” a representative from Countryside Inn Steakhouse in Adrian replied in a survey. “It was a great community effort. … We would consider using high oleic oil (in the future).”
Many of the restaurants replied that the food had a more appealing, golden brown consistency; other replies stated the high oleic oil kept the fryers cleaner, and it didn’t break down as often, doubling the life of the oil. Nearly all respondents indicated an interest in purchasing high oleic soybean oil in bulk if the price is competitive and the product is readily available.
Since Nobles County held their event, a local vineyard, Round Lake Winery, began using high oleic soybean cooking oil.
“They saw what we were doing, and were very interested in using high oleic because of the health benefits,” Widboom says.
In 2017, high oleic soybeans are being grown in Minnesota for the first time; a million acres will be planted nationwide in 2017. High oleic soybean oil has zero grams of trans fat, contains 75 percent less saturated fat than palm oil and extends product shelf life in baked goods.
“The more people we can show the benefits of high oleic soybean oil, the better,” says Dusty Neugebauer, treasurer of the Nobles County Corn and Soybean board. “We’re very happy with the feedback we’ve received.”
The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion (MSR&PC) sponsored Nobles County’s high oleic soybean oil promotion event, and will soon offer Plenish® high oleic bottles via Minnesota Soybean’s online store.
The Council wanted to initially spread the word via local restaurants before focusing on a wider audience, says MSR&PC Director Jim Willers.
“This is a step in the process of introducing high oleic to the marketplace,” Willers says. “We need to start local and grow from there. Because of what counties like Nobles are doing, I do think this will only expand throughout Minnesota and the country.”