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NuSun: Proving It's a 'Winner'

Sunday, August 1, 1999
filed under: Utilization/Trade: NuSun

New Mid-Oleic Sunflower Oil Already Proving It's a 'Winner' for Restaurants in Sunflower Country

Had you passed through Goodland, Kan., this summer, you could have

stopped by Crazy R's for a 'blooming onion' prepared in NuSun oil.

If you cruised by Meriwether's on the banks of the Missouri River in

Bismarck, N.D., you might have stopped in for their crabcakes prepared

in NuSun oil.

South Dakotans had the opportunity to taste their favorites prepared in

NuSun oil at The Refuge in Aberdeen, S.D., and the Detroit Lake, Minn.,

Holiday Inn was using NuSun oil exclusively during the height of the

tourist season, including deep frying whole turkeys in it for buffet


These restaurants helped the National Sunflower Association

introduce NuSun oil to the restaurant world in a pilot program. They

agreed to use NuSun oil exclusively in their fryers and to report on its

performance. Before committing to the promotion, the restaurants tested

NuSun. In all cases, NuSun passed the test with flying colors.

The National Sunflower Association picked local restaurants in the

heart of sunflower growing country so growers could taste NuSun oil in


NuSun, the new type of sunflower oil, from NuSun hybrids, brings a

unique advantage to commercial food preparation. When used for

extended periods of time (such as in restaurants' fryers), most

vegetable oils need to be hydrogenated. The hydrogenation process adds

hydrogen under high pressure to the vegetable oil. It raises the

melting point of the oil and makes the veg oil more stable for frying

and commercial food preparation. However, it also increases

saturated fat levels and creates trans fatty acids.

Hydrogenating oils became common as food manufacturers sought

replacements for higher-saturated-fat choices like animal and tropical

fats. As a result, trans fatty acids exist in many processed and

commercially prepared foods.

NuSun oil offers a healthier option to the restaurant world. It is

low in saturated fats, higher in monounsaturated fats and does not need

hydrogenation. The clean, light taste of NuSun doesn't mask the taste

of food. As a Goodland Kan., patron noted, "I like to taste the potato

in a french-fry, not an oil taste."

Kathleen Warner is research leader at the USDA National Center for

Agricultural Utilization Research Food Quality and Safety Research

(NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill. She says medical studies are beginning to

indicate that the type of fat in our diet is as important - and perhaps

more important - than the amount of fat. Whenever possible, consumers

should opt for the more healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated

fats versus saturated fats and trans fatty acids. "Saturated fats have

been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and some types of

cancer. Monounsaturated fats are believed to lower the risks of both

diseases," Warner says.

While NuSun oil certainly brings health benefits to the table, chefs

know customer satisfaction is important and taste is number one.

According to a 1999 Food Marketing Institute survey, taste is the top

priority of consumers when making food purchases followed by nutrition.

Did NuSun pass the taste test this year? Yes, according to our

panel of chefs and restaurant owner/managers. Linda Stenger of the

Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn used NuSun exclusively for one month. Stenger

was very pleased with it, noting the color and taste were an improvement

over the product she normally uses. (The oil's color in the fryer is an

important factor in determining when it must be changed.) "I watched it

closely and we did a lot of different foods. It worked really well,"

Stenger remarks. She also noted the appearance of the food was "pretty"

and that NuSun gave a beautiful golden color to fried items and less

surface grease.

Ward Wilson, kitchen manager at The Refuge in Aberdeen, also was

very pleased with NuSun oil. He noted excellent taste and that it

seemed to hold up longer in a fryer than the product he normally used.

There was no smoking and no unpleasant odors in the kitchen.

Brian Diumenti, executive chef and general manager at Meriwether's in

Bismarck, says NuSun oil was as good as what they had been using and

"seems to hold up a bit longer." Marv Erdmann, Meriwether's owner,

preferred the taste of food prepared in NuSun - and was pleased to offer

a healthier oil choice to guests.

Rod Cooper of Crazy R's in Goodland, gave NuSun oil a workout over

his busiest season. "NuSun held up really well, and I am frying

everything in it. Steak, pork tenderloins, onions, fish, fries.

Customers preferred the taste of NuSun," he reports.

A healthier oil choice that delivers an excellent tasting product

and performs like a workhorse in the fryer . . . . Sounds like a winning

dish for the sunflower industry.

PS: All the restaurateurs indicate they want to continue using

NuSun oil after the trial promotion is over. - Ruth Isaak

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