December 2, 2008

Zeeland Farm Services ventures into new consumer products from US soy oil


After establishing itself as one of the Midwest's top producers of commercial soy oil, US company Zeeland Farm Services is venturing into new market consumer products from soy oil.


President Cliff Meeusen of Zeeland Farm Services said the company is researching use of the oil for bio-products, lubricants and foods. Soy is a very versatile product, and their goal is to get the most out of it, whether it is for feed, food or fuel, he added.


Meeysen's family business in Zeeland has sales of about US$200 million a year and employs about 200 in the production and sale of livestock feed, cooking soy oil and agriculture transportation.


While bio-products are still in the future, ZFS is expanding the market for its top-selling commercial soy oil at the retail level.


In February, the company introduced Zoye Low Saturated Fat 100 percent pure soy oil, a product the company has been selling for 8 years to baking companies and salad oil producers at a clip of 12 million gallons a year.


The new oil fits perfectly in today's health trends, said Robb Meeusen, vice president of oil marketing.


It has no trans fat, zero cholesterol, only one gram of saturated fat and is produced from non-GM seed. Plus, it's very light tasting and great for cooking, baking and dressings, he ADDED.


The oil, which is produced and packaged by ZFS, sells for $5.99 for a 32-ounce bottle. The product so far is selling in about a dozen stores.


Among the company's bigger accounts is Duthler's Family Foods in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Wyoming. Picking up the product next year will be the L&L Food Centers in Lansing.


ZFS is working on a marketing strategy to break into the highly competitive grocery business.


Meeusen said that it is tough to try to establish a new brand from a company that is not a major name in the food business and the company hopes to expand into specialty and natural food stores.


The farm services business has been involved in several new approaches to its business.