The center, located near Cargill's canola crush facility in Clavet, Saskatchewan, Canada, is expected to centralize its hybrid breeding program in the heart of the commercial production region and ultimately help meet the demand for oils with zero trans fats and lower saturated fat. The site has been used for field trials for several years but Cargill said the new centre consolidates its efforts in one place and provides canola growers a single location to see new varieties. Scott Erickson, marketing manager, Cargill specialty canola oils, told FoodNavigator-USA.com: "The purpose of the centre is two-fold. The first is to conduct field trials of current and future canola varieties, and the second is to have a location where growers can come and see the performance of the varieties." He added that they will also have educational programs to help its growers meet industry demands. The Specialty Canola Oils Research and Production Centre will be part of Cargill's existing research farm at the site. This supports the company's specialized hybrid breeding and production trials, with a focus on developing high-yielding agronomic traits and the next generation of output traits. Canola is grown mainly in Western Canada, Australia and the USA. High-yielding canola is important so that growers can maximize the revenue of their farm. Planting at the research farm began last May and the research center is scheduled to open in November. Jenny Verner, president, Cargill specialty canola oils, said: "Cargill is committed to serving the entire supply chain, providing high-yielding Victory canola hybrids to farmers that ultimately result in oils with zero trans fats and lower saturated fat for our customers and the consumers they serve." Alternative oils Chris Anderson, vice president of the Canola Council of Canada, said: "Canola is a crop that has a lot of innovation and seeing a company like Cargill continue to invest in research and innovation is very important for canola producers and a larger segment of the industry. "We are seeing a strong demand in North America and globally for canola oil." Consumer demand has been a driving force in the canola market as customers are increasingly demanding oils with no trans fat and low levels of saturated fat. Trans fats have been linked to health risks as diverse as cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. High stability canola oil does not require hydrogenation and can be used successfully as a repeat use frying oil. Hydrogenated soy oil has tended to be the preferred option to slash trans fats, but there are clear signs that canola oil is starting to attract more attention and demand. Companies that have introduced alternatives to trans fats include the fast food group McDonald's which has started to use a blend of canola, corn and soybean oils to cook fries and other deep fried products. Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. It operates grain handling and crop input facilities across Ontario and the Prairies, and works in partnership with producers to develop grain-marketing solutions. It has been supplying customers with high oleic canola oil for over 10 years.