Assessing the Feasibility of Processing and Marketing Niche Soy Oil

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2003-08-01
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Agarwal, Sanjeev
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Lence, Sergio
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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Demand in the marketplace for foods with "natural" attributes, such as organic produce, continues to grow. Similarly, interest has developed in creating a technology that allows "physical" rather than chemical refinement of soybean oil to create a "natural" soy oil product. The physical refinement of non-genetically modified (non-GM) soybeans greatly strengthens the marketing claim to natural properties for that product. The oil derived in this manner, designated here as "niche soy oil," and its related inputs (non-GM soybeans) and by-products (high-energy non-GM soy meal) are the objects of our analysis. We find premiums of $0.03 to $0.43 per pound for niche soy oil compared to commodity soy oil. However, our price analysis suggests that only relatively optimistic combinations of premiums for niche soy oil, non-GM soybeans, and high-energy non-GM meal result in spreads above the estimated minimum economically feasible level.

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Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2003
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