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Appetite for U.S. soybean oil strong with Mexican consumers

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Soybean oil makes its way down an assembly line after being sorted, bottled and labeled. The bottles will be packaged and shipped to Mexican retail stores. (Photo: Katie Johnson/Iowa Soybean Association)
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For farmer and Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Director Rick Juchems, seeing his soybean product 1,700 miles south of his farm was a treat.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think my soybean oil would end up down here,” Juchems said as he watched soybean oil being bottled on an assembly line in San Louis Potosi, Mexico.

The stop was one of several for Juchems and ISA director Bill Shipley who traveled to Mexico last week as part of a delegation learning about soybean demand and marketing opportunities in the country.

Touring Coral International — a remote oil processing facility in East Central Mexico — highlighted a large market for U.S. soybeans.

“Our customers are used to high quality products,” said plant manager Juan Camou.

And that quality largely comes from using U.S. soybean oil.

A processing facility mostly focused on safflower oil, Coral entered the soybean market nearly a decade ago. Since then, they have grown to process soy oil at near capacity — 130 metric tons per day.

“Most of that oil comes from the U.S.” Camou said.

ISA directors Rick Juchems and Bill Shipley talk with Coral International Plant Manager, Juan Camou, about the 130 metric tons of soy oil they currently process. (Photo: Katie Johnson/Iowa Soybean Association)

Offering consumers options and the ability to influence their products is important to this multi-national oil company. Coral prides itself on being a one-stop shop for consumers, removing middlemen as often as possible, purchasing soybeans directly from Midwest cooperatives and selling it back to restaurants, retail stores and making it available for online purchasing.

“We do our own quality testing and research to make sure we have the best oil possible. We do our own bottling and lead the way on market trends,” Camou said, holding a bottle of a newly-created spiced safflower oil ready to hit Amazon’s online shelves.

Consumer trends influence Coral’s product availability, and for Mexicans, a light-colored oil is more desirable than a dark oil.

“The general trend in recent years for the soybean oil market here in Mexico is that customers have been looking for a clearer oil option,” Camou commented as he showed the ISA leaders Coral’s refinery facilities.

High oleic safflower oil has been important to Coral in the last few years. They pride themselves on offering a variety of oil to consumers, and they aren’t looking to stop at the safflowers.

“I think there is a demand for high oleic soybean oil,” Camou said. “We are interested in providing that.”

The ISA directors saw the process of U.S. soy oil arriving by tanks, stored, refined, tested and bottled for use in every large Mexican retail store in the country.

“Having our soybeans down here is amazing,” said Juchems. “Their use of Midwest soybeans says a lot about the quality of our product.”

Contact Katie Johnson at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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