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  • Unconventional Ag

Demand for Rapeseed Turns UK Farmers’ Fields to Gold

Rapeseed is now the fastest growing vegetable oil in the UK and British farmers are rapidly shifting to rapeseed production as consumers turn to cheaper, healthier, alternatives to olive oil.

Rapeseed oil contains Omega 6 and 9, and has the lowest saturated fat content of any edible oil at 6% - compared to 14% for olive oil, and 51% for butter.

“There is a growing awareness with shoppers that cold-pressed rapeseed is a healthier alternative to olive and other vegetable oils and that has helped boost demand in the last year,” Tesco edible oils buyer, Harry Gillespie tells The Guardian.

Hillfarm Oils was the first company to have its rapeseed products sold in supermarkets, and has since grown to become one of the UK’s biggest producers, with production skyrocketing from 2,000 liters in 2004, to 500,000 liters today. Over the past year, the company has had to double its production facilities, processing 1,388 tons of seed, compared to processing 722 tons the year before, in order to be able to meet the growing consumer demand.

Retail chain Tesco reported a 30% increase in consumer demand this year for rapeseed oil and now carries ten varieties produced across Britain. Other retailers are reporting similar trends, with Waitrose reporting sales of rapeseed oil up 30% over last year, and online retailers, Ocado, reporting rapeseed oil sales skyrocketing 73% year on year.

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