UK HEALTH TO DETERIORATE AS IDIOTS BELIEVE RAPESEED OIL IS GOOD FOR YOU
Rapeseed oil sales soar as middle class cooks turn to it instead of olive oil because it has half the amount of saturated fat
Olive oil sales falling for first time in decades as shoppers watch their weight
Rapeseed oil is increasingly popular with its higher levels of good fatty acids
By SEAN POULTER
PUBLISHED: 19:32, 3 June 2013 | UPDATED: 20:20, 3 June 2013
Oil produced from the burgeoning yellow fields of rapeseed which now dominate the British countryside is eating in to sales of imported olive oil.
Sales of rapeseed oil are up by 11.5 per cent across all retailers and 60per cent at Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket.
By contrast, the volume of olive oil is now showing its first fall in decades with a drop of some 0.3per cent in the number of bottles sold.
Rapeseed oil has a health advantage over olive oil in that it has just six per cent saturated fat content, which is less than half the 14per cent of most olive oil.
It also has higher levels important fatty acids – Omega 3, 6 and 9 – than any other vegetable oil.
The Omega 3 content, which is good for blood circulation and young brains, is some 11 times higher than olive oil, while Omega 6 promotes healthy skin, nails and hair.
The taste benefits are also being recognised for the first time with chefs like Jamie Oliver, who once championed olive oil, now supporting British rapeseed oil.
His Union Jacks restaurant chain uses British Farrington’s Mellow Yellow cold pressed rapeseed oil in jars on tables and in the preparation of traditional British meals, ranging from fish and chips to steaks, pies and salads.
The oil has a much higher burning point than other types, which means it retains its health benefits when used for roasting and frying.
Cold pressed virgin rapeseed oil is increasingly being seen as a gourmet ingredient to rival the olive oils imported from Italy, Spain and Greece.
It is a remarkable transformation for an oil that was originally developed as a lubricant for engines and, more recently, is being grown in many countries, where it is known as canola, as a bio-fuel to power cars.
In the UK, the value of rapeseed oil sales for food in the year to the end of February shows an increase of 17per cent to £8.5million, while the volume rose 11.5per cent to 2.9million litres, according to retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel.
By contrast, the volume of olive oil fell by 0.9per cent to 16m litres. A rise in the price of the oil following poor crops in Europe meant that while we are buying less, we paid some 0.3per cent more.
A supermarket own label bottle of rapeseed oil comes in at around £3 for one litre, while the olive oil equivalent is around £4.
Rapeseed has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil
Good fats: Rapeseed has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil
The gourmet cold pressed version of British rapeseed oil, which has a specific nutty flavour, can be £5 for 500ml, while finest imported olive oil would be £7.
Tesco local sourcing manager, Gemma McIvor, said: ‘Anyone driving through the British countryside recently can’t fail to have noticed the abundant fields of bright yellow rapeseed and over the last few years more and more UK producers have turned to grow this relatively new cash crop.
‘We started selling cold pressed rapeseed oil five years ago and since then it has really taken off and we now stock varieties from all over Britain.
‘Rapeseed is extremely easy to grow and now that there is a growing awareness of it as a healthier alternative to olive and vegetable oil we think that more farmers will be tempted to grow it and more shoppers will consider buying it.
‘There is also the added incentive for ethical shoppers that because it is produced locally it cuts down on the carbon footprint of imported oils.’
Due to the growing demand Tesco stocks rapeseed oils produced in Somerset, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Yorkshire, Northumbria, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Sussex, Hampshire and Aberdeenshire.
These local varieties are sold in stores in and around the counties where they are produced – each has its own regional flavour and look.
The rapeseed plants in full bloom and ready for harvest in the farms in Luoping, southwest China’s Yunnan province
Healthy alternative: The rapeseed plants in full bloom and ready for harvest in the farms in Luoping, southwest China’s Yunnan province
One of its suppliers is Borderfields, a company set up by a small group of farmers on either side of the Scottish border in Northumbria and Berwickshire.
It began production in 2006 at the start of the boom and has since become the UK’s most popular producer of rapeseed oil – with production tripling to 1.75m litres in 2013.
Ben Guy, the managing director of Hammond Food Oils, parent company of Borderfields said: ‘Cold pressed rapeseed oil has reached an important milestone as it’s now considered a mainstream product. This is an amazing transformation, especially when you think that only seven years ago, it was essentially non-existent in the UK.
‘Building awareness of the benefits of cold pressed rapeseed oil has been a big part of driving growth over the past few years.
‘It’s now our responsibility as manufacturers to capitalise on the likely increases in olive oil prices, by making our offerings as competitive as possible, encouraging more to try this great British alternative.’