Canada canola oil, meal exports hit record highs

Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:05pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada is shipping canola oil and meal in record-high volumes, as new Prairie crushing plants work to meet growing soaring demand.

Canada, the top exporter of rapeseed variant canola, shipped 2.4 million tonnes of canola oil and nearly 3 million tonnes of meal in 2010/11, blowing away previous high-volume marks, Statistics Canada data showed this week.

Exports for the first three months of the current 2011/12 crop year are also brisk, said one exporter.

"At the heart of it is overall vegetable oil demand," said Cory McArthur, vice-president of market development for the Canola Council of Canada. Demand is growing as developing countries improve their diets, he said.

Canola oil is mainly used as a vegetable oil for cooking or in foods like salad dressing and margarine. The meal is used to feed animals, especially cattle.

Demand for canola oil is also accelerating because of its low saturated fat content and favorable properties for packaged food production, McArthur said.

Pepsico (PEP.N: Quote) Foods, for example, recently switched to using canola oil in making its Frito Lay potato chips.

"The shift toward healthier eating, whether it's through food manufacturers looking for healthier oils to use or consumers at the supermarket, that's a big driver," McArthur said.   Continued...