Sunflower Oil

What is Sunflower Oil?

Sunflower oil is a type of vegetable oil that is made from the seeds of sunflowers. The oil is extracted from the seeds using a mechanical or chemical process and then refined to remove any impurities and improve its shelf life. Sunflower oil is commonly used for cooking and frying due to its high smoke point, which means it can withstand high temperatures without smoking or burning.

Sunflower oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. It also contains small amounts of saturated fat and is free from trans fats. Sunflower oil is also a good source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

There are different types of sunflower oil available, including both refined and unrefined varieties. Refined sunflower oil is more commonly used for cooking and has a neutral taste and aroma, while unrefined sunflower oil has a stronger flavor and may contain more of the natural nutrients found in the seeds.

Sunflower Oil Production in the World

Russian Federation is the top country producing Sunflower Oil in the world. As of 2021, the Russian Federation produced 5,248,935 tonnes of Sunflower Oil, accounting for 28.38% of the total production. Ukraine is the world's second-largest Sunflower Oil producer, with 4,928,742 tonnes, which represents 26.65% of the total production. Argentina(1,340,009) is the 3rd country, Türkiye(940,200) is the 4th country, and Hungary(645,300) is the 5th country in the world producing Sunflower Oil. Lithuania has the lowest production of Sunflower Oil in the world with only 2 tonnes in 2021. The world's total production of sunflower oil was estimated at 18,495,059 tonnes in 2021.

Source: FAOSTAT

Top 10 Countries by Sunflower Oil Production in 2021

Top Countries by Production of Sunflower Oil in 2021

Rank Country production(Tonnes)
1
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Russian Federation
5,248,935
2
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Ukraine
4,928,742
3
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Argentina
1,340,009
4
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Türkiye
940,200
5
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Hungary
645,300
6
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Bulgaria
619,000
7
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France
528,700
8
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Romania
459,700
9
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Spain
455,900
10
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Kazakhstan
331,135
11
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The United Republic of Tanzania
304,100
12
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South Africa
302,100
13
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China
269,000
14
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United States of America
189,000
15
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Serbia
185,425
16
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Republic of Moldova
176,000
17
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Netherlands
163,200
18
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Italy
144,500
19
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Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
88,500
20
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Uganda
87,500
21
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Brazil
84,053
22
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Czechia
82,700
23
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Portugal
75,500
24
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Greece
71,400
25
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Austria
65,200
26
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India
63,900
27
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Uzbekistan
57,486
28
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Germany
55,300
29
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Belgium
40,500
30
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Pakistan
38,500
31
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Sudan
38,400
32
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Azerbaijan
35,950
33
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Myanmar
33,100
34
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Canada
29,400
35
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
28,100
36
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Croatia
27,000
37
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Iran (Islamic Republic of)
26,200
38
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Zambia
23,400
39
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Iraq
19,300
40
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Slovakia
19,200
41
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Morocco
19,100
42
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Thailand
13,900
43
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Paraguay
12,400
44
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Australia
11,400
45
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Mexico
11,000
46
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Tajikistan
9,100
47
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Egypt
9,000
48
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Malawi
7,400
49
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Poland
7,360
50
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Belarus
6,956
51
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Sweden
6,538
52
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Israel
6,300
53
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Mozambique
5,300
54
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Finland
4,200
55
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Jordan
3,800
56
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Angola
3,782
57
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Switzerland
3,649
58
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Algeria
3,600
59
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Zimbabwe
3,500
60
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Indonesia
3,284
61
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Tunisia
3,023
62
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Lebanon
2,900
63
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Malaysia
2,456
64
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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
2,345
65
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Afghanistan
2,013
66
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Syrian Arab Republic
1,800
67
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North Macedonia
1,800
68
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Uruguay
1,100
69
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Kenya
1,000
70
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Georgia
746
71
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Latvia
700
72
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Estonia
500
73
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Albania
400
74
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Chile
400
75
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Luxembourg
323
76
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Kyrgyzstan
151
77
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Guatemala
126
78
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Namibia
105
79
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Turkmenistan
23
80
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Denmark
16
81
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Armenia
15
82
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Panama
11
83
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Lithuania
2

Composition of Nutrients in Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is primarily composed of fatty acids, with oleic acid and linoleic acid being the most abundant. The composition of sunflower oil can vary depending on the method of extraction and processing.

Here is the composition of sunflower oil with points and approximate percentage of each component:

  1. Oleic acid: Sunflower oil is typically composed of 14% to 40% oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is known to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  2. Linoleic acid: This polyunsaturated fatty acid makes up the majority of the fatty acid profile in sunflower oil, typically accounting for 48% to 74% of its composition. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. It plays a key role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, supporting brain function, and regulating inflammation in the body.
  3. Palmitic acid: This saturated fatty acid makes up 4% to 9% of the composition of sunflower oil. While high levels of saturated fat in the diet have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, small amounts of palmitic acid are not typically considered harmful.
  4. Stearic acid: Sunflower oil contains 1% to 7% stearic acid, which is another saturated fatty acid. Like palmitic acid, stearic acid in small amounts is generally considered safe for consumption.
  5. Other fatty acids: Sunflower oil may contain trace amounts of other fatty acids, such as myristic acid, palmitoleic acid, and arachidic acid. However, these typically make up less than 2% of the oil's composition.
  6. Vitamin E: Sunflower oil is a good source of vitamin E, with one tablespoon of the oil containing approximately 5% of the daily recommended intake. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Overall, sunflower oil is a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Process of Making Sunflower Oil

The process of making sunflower oil involves several steps, including seed cleaning, seed preparation, extraction, clarification, and refining. Here is a general overview of the process:

  1. Seed Cleaning: The first step is to clean the sunflower seeds to remove any impurities like dirt, stones, or other foreign materials. This is typically done using sieves, screens, and airflow to separate the seeds from unwanted debris.
  2. Seed Preparation: The cleaned sunflower seeds are then prepared for extraction. This involves removing the outer shell or hull of the seeds. The seeds can be de-hulled mechanically or by using a de-hulling machine. De-hulled seeds are known as sunflower kernels.
  3. Extraction:

    The sunflower kernels are then processed to extract the oil. There are two primary methods of extraction:

    • Cold Pressing: In this method, the sunflower kernels are crushed or ground into a paste using mechanical means. The paste is then subjected to pressure to extract the oil. This method preserves more of the natural flavor and nutrients of the oil.
    • Solvent Extraction: In this method, the sunflower kernels are first crushed or ground into a fine meal. The meal is then mixed with a solvent, typically hexane, which helps dissolve the oil. The solvent-oil mixture is separated, and the solvent is evaporated to obtain the crude sunflower oil.
  4. Clarification: The crude sunflower oil obtained from the extraction process may contain impurities such as solids, moisture, or residual solvent. Clarification is done to remove these impurities. The oil is usually heated and then subjected to centrifugal force or filtered through various processes to separate the impurities from the oil.
  5. Refining: The clarified oil may undergo further refining processes to improve its quality, flavor, and stability. Refining involves processes like degumming, neutralization, bleaching, and deodorization. These processes help remove free fatty acids, undesirable odors, colors, and other impurities, resulting in refined and clear sunflower oil.
  6. Packaging: After refining, the sunflower oil is typically packaged into bottles, cans, or other suitable containers for distribution and sale. The packaging is done in a way that protects the oil from light, heat, and air to maintain its quality.

It's worth mentioning that the specific processes and equipment used in sunflower oil production may vary depending on the scale of production, technological advancements, and regional practices.

Nutritional Information of Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional information in one tablespoon (approximately 14 grams) of sunflower oil:

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.5 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 9 grams
  • Vitamin E: 5% of the daily recommended intake
  • No significant amounts of protein, carbohydrates, or fiber.

Sunflower oil is primarily composed of healthy unsaturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed in moderation. It is also a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. However, it is important to note that sunflower oil is relatively high in calories and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Different Types of Sunflower Oil

There are several types of sunflower oil, including:

  1. Refined sunflower oil: This is the most commonly used type of sunflower oil, which is extracted using high heat and chemicals to remove impurities and enhance the oil's stability.
  2. High oleic sunflower oil: This type of sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds that have been specifically bred to contain higher levels of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. High oleic sunflower oil is more stable and has a longer shelf life than regular sunflower oil.
  3. Organic sunflower oil: This type of sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
  4. Cold-pressed sunflower oil: This type of sunflower oil is extracted using a mechanical pressing process that does not involve high heat or chemicals. This method helps to retain more of the oil's natural flavor and nutritional content.
  5. Mid-oleic sunflower oil: This is a newer variety of sunflower oil that has a higher oleic acid content than regular sunflower oil, but is not as high as high oleic sunflower oil. It is often marketed as a healthier alternative to regular sunflower oil.

Uses of Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil has several uses, including:

  1. Cooking and baking: Sunflower oil is commonly used for frying, sautéing, and baking due to its mild flavor and high smoke point. It is also a popular ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
  2. Skin and hair care: Sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, making it a popular ingredient in skincare and hair care products. It is often used as a moisturizer, massage oil, and hair conditioner.
  3. Industrial applications: Sunflower oil is used in various industrial applications, such as in the production of biodiesel, soaps, and candles.
  4. Medical applications: Sunflower oil is sometimes used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy, and it is also used in some medical applications, such as in the formulation of certain medications.
  5. Animal feed: Sunflower oil is sometimes used in the formulation of animal feed, particularly for poultry and swine.