Rapeseed – an important raw material for AAK
Rapeseed as raw material
Today, rapeseed oil is one of the most important vegetable
oils used in food as well as biodiesel.
Rapeseed has become the oil plant of Northern
Europe. Outside Europe, the dominant producers are
Canada, China and Australia. Rapeseed is an annual
crop planted either in autumn (winter varieties) or in
spring (summer varieties). The winter varieties have
a longer vegetation period and give a better yield, but
can only be grown in areas with mild winter climate.
In Europe, winter varieties are dominating, whereas in
Canada only summer rapeseed is grown. The harvest
period in the Northern Hemisphere for the winter
varieties starts in late July, and in late August or early
September for the summer varieties.
The importance of rapeseed for AAK
Rapeseed is a very important raw material for AAK
and is one of a few raw materials that AAK is crushing in
its own facilities.
AAK can offer oils from traditional seeds and a range
of speciality varieties. Much of the rapeseed used in
AAK’s products is grown in Sweden, where farms have
increased their output in recent years. Through close
cooperation with the farmers, AAK is able to maintain
control of the entire value chain, from the production of
raw material to finished products. The rapeseed meal
that remains after oil extraction is used as animal feed.
The oil content of rapeseed is 40–45 percent which
corresponds to approximately 0.8 MT/ha and is
extracted either by pressing alone or by pre-pressing
and solvent extraction.
With high oleic acid content, rapeseed oil has the
lowest saturated fat content of all vegetable oils and is
high in monounsaturated fatty acids. It also contains
the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and
alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), as well as vitamin E
(tocopherol) and vitamin K.
Its nutritional and functional properties mean that
rapeseed oil is ideal for use as a cooking oil or ingredient.
Food applications range from mayonnaise and
salad dressings to baby food. In margarines and bakery
products, rapeseed oil ensures the right consistency
and an improved nutritional profile.
For high-temperature processes, high oleic acid-varieties
of rapeseed are significantly more suitable. The
advantages are a low saturated fat content together with
good thermal and storage stability.
From an agricultural sustainability perspective rapeseed
is a very suitable crop to include in crop rotations with,
for example, wheat and corn. When including rapeseed
in crop rotation cycles it improves drainage and soil
water retention, soil structure and resilience, as well
as future nutrient availability. The plants furthermore