The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and the organization has been busy commemorating this milestone. First, CCC launched a new website called CanolaHistory.ca, which features videos and an interactive timeline, both highlighting major achievements over the past 80 years and honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry. The “Share Your Canola Story” section allows visitors to share memories, post photos or acknowledge an industry leader.
To support this celebration, Omega-9 Oils wanted to share how our history connects with that of canola — from the seed’s humble beginnings to the innovative work that led to the development of Omega-9 Canola Oil.
Canola was developed in the 1970s using traditional plant breeding techniques. Canadian plant breeders sought a high-quality oilseed that would thrive on the Canadian prairies. Working with the hardy rapeseed plant, they succeeded by removing the components that made it inedible for humans and developed a more healthful profile. The result was a healthy oil with very little saturated fat — just 7 percent! The plant was named canola — a blend of “Canada” and “ola,” meaning oil. By 1979, more than 8.4 million acres of canola were being planted.
By the early 1990s, another type of canola oil was in the works. Research was beginning to uncover the harmful effects of partially hydrogenated oils found in trans fat — the primary ingredient used in food to improve oil stability and product shelf life at that time. The food industry, along with consumers, began looking for a healthier option. Researchers at Dow AgroSciences began working to produce a naturally stable oil not requiring hydrogenation.
Dow AgroScience’s plant scientists began with canola, because it already had a favorable nutrition profile. Through traditional plant breeding, Nexera™ canola seeds were developed. The oil that is extracted from Nexera™ seeds is called Omega-9 Canola Oil as it is uniquely high in omega-9 monounsaturated fats. The oil also is low in saturated fats and contains zero trans fat. Nexera™ became commercially available in 1996, and by 2004 Omega-9 Canola Oil was officially launched. Today, Nexera is grown on over 1.5 million acres across North America, producing over 1 billion pounds of Omega-9 Canola Oil annually. Omega-9 Canola Oil is readily available through most major oilseed processors to meet the demand for healthier oils across the industry.
Take this tour today to learn more about the plant breeding that led to Omega-9 Canola Oil. For more information about Omega-9 Canola Oil and how it can help you provide healthier menus or products, please contact our team.