Minister Gerry Ritz Serves Up Heart Health in Mexico with Canola Oil

Survey Shows Canola Oil Offers Mexicans What They Seek in Cooking Oil

MEXICO CITY, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - At an event hosted on Jan. 19 in Mexico City by the Canola Council of Canada, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz noted that cooking with canola oil can help Mexicans be more heart-smart. The event kicked off the Government of Canada's new Canada Brand initiative to raise awareness of Canadian agriculture in Mexico and coincided with the release of results from a 2009 survey by The Nielsen Company about Mexicans' usage and knowledge of cooking oils.

"Canadian canola currently holds an astounding 30 percent of the cooking oil market in Mexico but given its great health attributes, such as low levels of saturated fats, we know the Mexican demand can and will grow," said Minister Ritz.

The survey, conducted in November/December 2009 among over 600 consumers in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, showed that Mexicans buy oil twice a month and use it daily for cooking. Health and versatility are the attributes they most look for in cooking oils, namely that they are low in saturated fat and contain omega-3 fatty acids. Canola oil has these benefits, but few Mexicans know it.

According to the survey, only 11 percent of the interviewees use canola oil and 11 percent think they know the difference between canola and other vegetable oils. But after a description of canola oil's benefits was read to participants, 47 percent stated they would be willing to switch to this oil.

"Given the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes in Mexico and consumers' significant use of cooking oil, canola oil is the ideal choice as a kitchen staple," said Canola Council of Canada President JoAnne Buth. "According to scientific studies, as little as one and a half tablespoons of canola oil a day in place of saturated fat may help reduce the risk of heart disease. It's a simple change that Mexicans can make for a few cents per serving a day."

Canola oil has the least saturated fat of all vegetable oils and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin E. Canola oil is also extremely versatile with its neutral flavor, light texture and high heat tolerance.

"Canadian canola seed is a golden opportunity for Mexico's health and wealth," Buth added. "By crushing canola seed domestically then refining and bottling the oil, Mexican companies contribute to the economy and the heart health of consumers."

Mexico is an important market for Canadian canola seed. Currently, Canada sells about 1.2 million tons of it to Mexico per year and 1.5 million tons are projected in 2015.

"The Canola Council of Canada appreciates Minister Ritz's commitment to increasing public awareness of healthy fats and canola oil through the Canada Brand initiative announced in Mexico," Buth noted. "This initiative, funded by Canada's Economic Action Plan, will boost the Canadian brand in Mexico and lead to more Mexican imports of high quality, healthy products like canola oil."

CanolaInfo is the information source for consumers, health professionals, chefs, media and teachers, or for anyone who wants to know more about canola oil, the healthier oil in the world. The CanolaInfo team is backed by canola farmers, crop providers, exporters, processors, food producers and governments in North America.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Canola Council of Canada

For further information: For further information: Robert Hunter, Tel: (204) 982-2126, hunterr@canolacouncil.org

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