New health-oriented traits can open new markets for U.S. growers, believes ASA’s Joslin. “We’ve lost 4 billion pounds of soybean oil for human consumption due to the new trans-fat labeling. But new traits are coming that won’t require hydrogenation and will be even heart-healthier,” Joslin says.

Iwig says Pioneer’s Plenish high-oleic soybeans are ready for release in 2012. “The improved, healthier-oil profile allows food companies and industrial product manufacturers to bring improved products to the market that benefit the consumer and the environment.

“Plenish high-oleic soybean oil offers a soy-based solution to the trans-fat challenge with more than 75% oleic content and 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil. The oil’s enhanced stability provides higher heat stability for frying, extended shelf life for manufactured products and great flexibility in applications.”

Monsanto will also launch two oil-quality traits in the next two or three years. “One of these traits is Vistive Gold, which will provide a stable soybean oil for frying and baking applications, contains no trans fats and has the lowest saturated-fat content of any vegetable oil,” Fuchs says.

“Also, we expect to bring stearidonic acid (SDA) omega-3 soybeans to the market. SDA soybean oil is a plant-based source of omega-3s that helps support heart health and can be incorporated into everyday foods.”