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We help those in the food industry in Minnesota and nationally meet consumer demand for healthier options and nutritional transparency through restaurant menu labeling, nutrient analysis and more.






Sara Bloms

One ingredient restaurants highly rely on is cooking oil because it’s used in preparing a variety of foods.

The most recent cooking oil on the block, high oleic (o-lay-ik) sunflower oil. It’s growing in popularity among restaurants locally and nationally who are committed to sourcing quality ingredients that you can feel good about eating. The reason for it’s popularity, high oleic sunflower oil has nutritional benefits for the health-conscious customer, it’s neutral in flavor and has a long shelf life.

Is high oleic sunflower oil healthy?

What makes high oleic sunflower oil different is its high level of oleic (monounsaturated) acid while being extremely low in linoleic (polyunsaturated) acid. It’s classified as having at least 80% monounsaturated levels, the same levels found in olive oil, lard and the levels naturally found in your own body. Studies have shown that both unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are beneficial to your health. Monounsaturated fat is known to lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and benefit insulin control for those with type 2 diabetes. Polyunsaturated fat is also considered a healthier fat but often, via our American diets, we over-consume polyunsaturated fat through a variety of processed foods and oils which can lead to inflammation.

Why do restaurants and food companies use it? 

Since fat plays a large role in the taste, aroma and texture of food, using a fat like high oleic sunflower oil is a better option. Oils that are high in monounsaturated fat have a higher smoke point, meaning that they can withstand being heated to higher temperatures before they begin to emit smoke, become inedible in flavor and produce cancer-causing free radicals. High oleic sunflower oil also maintains its antioxidant protection that’s originally found in its whole seed origins in comparison to oils high in polyunsaturated fat like regular sunflower oil, soybean oil and corn oil. This antioxidant protection is important because it protects the cells in our body from oxidation so they do not deteriorate as much and aging is slower. Antioxidants also play the same role in our bodies as they do in the oil. They help slow down the oxidation (rancidity) process which in turn lengthens the shelf life of the oil.

Does it contain GMOs?

High oleic sunflower oil is extracted from sunflower seeds, similar to regular sunflower oil except the seeds selected have high levels of monounsaturated fat. This selection of sunflower seeds is done through traditional plant breeding, NOT genetic modification.

Is high oleic sunflower oil paleo-friendly?

Finally, because of the high levels of monounsaturated fat and low levels of polyunsaturated fat in high oleic sunflower oil, many paleo eaters will use it in rotation with other paleo-friendly oils like olive and coconut.

Photo by fdecomite / CC BY