Soybean Oil Facts: Processing Solutions 

to Remove Partially Hydrogenated Oils from the Food Supply


Solutions for Producing Foods Low in Bad Fats

Providing healthful and functional ingredients to the food industry is more important than ever.

The soybean industry is championing innovative processes used to produce healthier soybean oils, while continuing a dialogue with food companies about the evolving desires of consumers.

Partially hydrogenated oils are the main source of industrially-produced trans fat in the U.S. food supply. While many food companies have taken steps to remove trans fat from products, hundreds of processed foods that require the structure of a more solid fat still contain small amounts. Partially hydrogenated oils can be found in baked goods such as cakes, cookies and pies; margarine, vegetable shortenings and stick margarines; and refrigerated dough products such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls.

Soybean oil processing methods are available to replace partially hydrogenated oils for food applications that require solid and semi-solid shortenings. The result is products that have no added trans fat and are low in saturated fat. 


An effective processing technique is interesterification, during which fatty acids are rearranged within and among triglyceride molecules.

CookiesThis method does not cause isomerization, and no trans fatty acids are formed by the process. Interesterification has the ability to produce a wide range of products similar to those produced from partial hydrogenation - useful as an ingredient in cookies, cakes, spreads, icings and more. Both the temperature at which soybean oil becomes liquid (the melt point) and the phasing of turning from solid to liquid (the melt curve) can be adjusted using recently perfected technology. Crystallization of interesterified soybean oil can be achieved by votating the oil and tempering it under controlled conditions. This technique achieves solid and semi-solid shortenings, which are useful in a wide range of applications.  


Another method used for bakery applications to avoid the introduction of trans fat is blending.

It involves combining a fully hydrogenated soybean oil (a trans fat-free hard stock) with a non-hydrogenated oil such as conventional soybean oil, high oleic soybean oil or alternative vegetable oils. This technique results in a final product that is trans fat-free and low in saturated fat. 

Blending fully hydrogenated soybean oil with non-hydrogenated soybean oil creates a product with 0g trans fat.

The Next Generation of Soybean Oils

The soybean industry also continues to work toward developing varieties with enhanced compositional traits to produce healthier oils  with improved functionality. 

460px X 440px LabOil 1499One example 
available now is high oleic soybean oil. Read “Soybean Oil Facts: High Oleic and Increased Omega-3 Soybean Oils” for additional information about oils available now and those in the pipeline.  


The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information, please visit

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