“The global market of sunflower oil will increase steadily” Interview with ISOA President Pr. Xu Xue Bing

- Dear Prof. Xu, as ISOA President how do you estimate the role of sunflower oil on the global market of vegetable oils?

- Thanks for this question. Although the global market for sunflower oil is now smaller than many other oils such as palm or soybean oil, the demand for sunflower oil is still steadily increasing. At present, the sunflower oil is the fourth vegetable oil by volume of production in the world after palm, soybean, and rapeseed oils. The latest forecast data from USDA shows that the SFO production will increase to 17.96 million metric tons in 2017/18 from 12.09 million metric tons in 2010/11, which accounts for about one-tenth of the total world oil supply. Sunflower oil will play more and more important role in the food consumption market. Consumers have better awareness of the importance of consuming “good” oils, such as containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and restricting the consuming of “bad” oils including saturated and trans fats. Sunflower oil has good things to show in these aspects. I think the the global market of sunflower oil will increase steadily.


- What do you think should be done to popularize sunflower oil and to highlight it’s high nutrition values?

- Sunflower oil shows many advantages with higher unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic or linoleic fatty acids, and higher contents of α-tochopherol. On the one hand, the sunflower oil refining process should be continuously optimized to improve the sunflower oil quality and its micronutrients contents, such as with the use of precise processing. In general, more awareness should be raised further for consumers although it has the good perceptions already. Obviously more and more efforts are needed and should be done concerning the nutritional studies and technical improvement of sunflower oil so that more evidence can be demosntrated. ISOA was organized to promote the use of subflower oil in general.


- What can you tell about perception of sunflower oil in China? Do Chinese consumers prefer sunflower oil?

- China is the largest vegetable oil consumption in the world, as well as one of the major oilseed growing and producing contries. But sunflower oil ranks only sixth for oilseed production, behind corn, peanut, soybean, rapeseed, and cotton. Due to the relatively small production of sunflower seed, the sunflower oil production in China is insufficient to meet consumer’s demand, and China is very reliant on imports to satisify its repuirement. Traditionally, Chinese consumers tends to buy soybean, rapeseed, and groundnut oils for their daily cooking. But now consumers acknowledged the advantages of sunflower oil in health aspects, thus more and more have been changing their traditional option to buy sunflower oil.


- Regarding International Sunflower Oil Association (ISOA) – what is on your opinion the main target of the association?

- As you known, ISOA is an international non-profit organization that was established in 2015 in Rome by group of establishing members, including representatives of main national associations and industry companies from China, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Spain and Argentina. The main targets of the association is to promote the international communications bewtten producers and users of sunflower oil and to promote the use of sunflower oil in general. This includes the promotion of technical communications and enhancing of the wellness of the sunflower oil communities.


- From technological point of view, which technologies of sunflower oil processing or production are currently the most important for the global and Chinese sunflower oil industry?

- In my opinion, precise and appropriate processing technology is currently the most important for the global and especially Chinese sunflower oil industry. At present, over processing is widely applied in the oil refining to meet the standard of refined oil. But this over processing always brings much more micronutrients loss and energy consumption. On the contrary, by utilizing the precise processing, more and more micronutrients can be retained in oils as well as relatively lower energy consumption and also high quality of the oils, realizing the target of “producing high quality and good oils”.


- What are the nearest ISOA plans and activities?

- The nearest ISOA plan is to hold a technical conference in Turkey. This conference will mainly focus on the scientific progress of sunflower including breeding, oil technology, nutrition, and utilization of by-product such as meal, protein, and lecithin. The 3rd International Sunflower Oil Summit will be held in 2019 in the following year.


- Why membership in ISOA is important for sunflower oil producers, traders and especially technology|science community?

Sunflower oil remains young in the oils and fats world. To raise the status of sunflower oil needs a lot of efforts of the community. Only if the sunflower oil community unites, the better situation of sunflower oil can be forseen. ISOA has such a target to promote sunflower oil in general. The more engagement from the sunflower oil community can lead to the better promotion of sunflower oil as such. From another aspect, ISOA can gives you more trading and technical information through its members newsletter as well as benefits of the conference participations. Memeberships can offer more benefits also from other possibilities.