Sunflower seed

What is Sunflower seed?

Sunflower seeds are the edible seeds of the sunflower plant (Helianthus annuus). The plant is native to North America and is now grown around the world for its seeds, which are used in a variety of culinary and commercial applications.

Sunflower seeds are typically small, flat, and oval-shaped, with a black and white striped outer shell that encases the kernel or meat inside. The kernel is pale yellow or greenish and has a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and are often used in baking, cooking, and snacking.

Sunflower seeds can be consumed raw or roasted, and are often sold either with or without the shells. They can be used as a topping for salads and baked goods, blended into nut butter, or ground into a powder and used as a gluten-free flour substitute. Sunflower oil is also extracted from the seeds and is used in cooking, salad dressings, and other food products.

Sunflower seed Production in the World

Russian Federation is the top country producing Sunflower Seeds in the world. As of 2022, the Russian Federation produced 16,362,215 tonnes of Sunflower Seed, accounting for 30.14% of the total production. Ukraine is the world's second-largest Sunflower Seed producer, with 11,328,740 tonnes, which represents 20.87% of the total production. In terms of Sunflower Seed yield, Uzbekistan is the most productive country on the planet with 50,943. Argentina, China, and Türkiye are the top three leading countries with '4,050,362', '2,930,000', '2,550,000', and '2,140,590' tonnes respectively. Bhutan has the lowest production of Sunflower Seed in the world with only 2 tonnes in 2022. The world's total production of sunflower seed was estimated at 54,285,951 tonnes in 2022.

Source: FAOSTAT

Top 10 Countries by Sunflower seed Production in 2022

Top Countries by Production of Sunflower seed in 2022

Rank Country production(Tonnes) acreage(Hectare) Yield
1
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Russian Federation
16,362,2159,182,87317,818
2
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Ukraine
11,328,7405,238,00021,628
3
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Argentina
4,050,3621,958,68620,679
4
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China
2,930,000970,00030,206
5
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Türkiye
2,550,000979,69126,029
6
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Bulgaria
2,140,590916,96023,344
7
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Romania
2,106,5701,093,27019,269
8
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France
1,798,380870,56020,658
9
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Kazakhstan
1,304,3421,090,49211,961
10
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Hungary
1,286,200679,60018,926
11
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United States of America
1,275,750650,34019,617
12
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The United Republic of Tanzania
1,150,0001,070,00010,748
13
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South Africa
845,550670,70012,607
14
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Spain
829,250876,6709,459
15
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Serbia
643,459251,15525,620
16
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Republic of Moldova
627,100440,20014,246
17
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Uganda
290,000283,00010,247
18
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Italy
266,030110,82024,006
19
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India
250,180271,1409,227
20
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Greece
228,59092,96024,590
21
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Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
210,473159,44813,200
22
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Myanmar
206,990223,9009,245
23
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Slovakia
172,58073,13023,599
24
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Germany
161,20085,60018,832
25
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Croatia
152,87051,11029,910
26
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Sudan
112,000210,0005,333
27
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Canada
84,05437,50022,414
28
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Pakistan
83,64153,40415,662
29
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Zambia
80,164163,8794,892
30
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Iran (Islamic Republic of)
65,00063,00010,317
31
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Poland
61,85026,98022,924
32
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Brazil
60,15936,89816,304
33
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Czechia
59,69022,49026,541
34
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Austria
57,00024,29023,466
35
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South Sudan
52,71230,36217,361
36
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Paraguay
46,40525,00018,562
37
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Uzbekistan
42,1748,27950,943
38
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Morocco
30,43326,55111,462
39
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Australia
29,80019,40015,361
40
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Malawi
29,00026,00011,154
41
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Azerbaijan
28,32211,53424,556
42
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Thailand
27,00032,0008,438
43
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Egypt
22,0008,36426,304
44
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Switzerland
14,2255,22827,209
45
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Tajikistan
14,0005,00028,000
46
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Angola
12,24317,2437,100
47
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Portugal
12,0207,67015,671
48
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Uruguay
10,47811,0009,525
49
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North Macedonia
9,8336,17915,914
50
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Mexico
8,9096,07414,666
51
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Syrian Arab Republic
8,5676,25113,705
52
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Tunisia
6,6377,3868,985
53
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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
6,3269,5416,631
54
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Kyrgyzstan
6,3104,78913,176
55
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Kenya
6,0006,00010,000
56
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Mozambique
5,84019,4683,000
57
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Zimbabwe
4,98110,3564,810
58
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Ethiopia
3,8313,53610,832
59
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Chile
2,9752,67111,137
60
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Georgia
2,8003,8007,368
61
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Belarus
2,0002,00010,000
62
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Israel
2,00048441,357
63
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
1,65079720,703
64
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Slovenia
1,20058020,690
65
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Botswana
1,0612,8173,767
66
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Afghanistan
83170011,883
67
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Albania
78933323,694
68
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Luxembourg
62034018,235
69
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Iraq
61938715,995
70
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Ecuador
22312917,210
71
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Algeria
861934,476
72
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Namibia
706311,001
73
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Bhutan
2112,712

Nutritional Information of Sunflower seed

The following is the approximate nutritional composition of sunflower seeds per 100 grams:

  • Calories: 584 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20.0 grams
    • Dietary fiber: 8.6 grams
    • Sugars: 2.6 grams
  • Fat: 51.5 grams
    • Saturated fat: 4.5 grams
    • Monounsaturated fat: 18.5 grams
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 23.1 grams
      • Omega-6 fatty acids: 22.9 grams
      • Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 20.8 grams
  • Vitamins:
  • Vitamin E: 35.17 milligrams
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 1.48 milligrams
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 8.33 milligrams
  • Vitamin B6: 1.35 milligrams
  • Folate (Vitamin B9): 227 micrograms
  • Minerals:
  • Magnesium: 325 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 660 milligrams
  • Potassium: 645 milligrams
  • Zinc: 5.0 milligrams
  • Iron: 5.25 milligrams

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on the specific variety of sunflower seeds.

Regional Variety of Sunflower seed

Sunflower seeds are widely cultivated around the world, resulting in different regional varieties. Here are a few examples of regional varieties of sunflower seeds:

  1. Russian Sunflower Seeds: Russia is known for producing a variety of sunflower seeds, including both oilseed varieties and confectionery varieties. Russian sunflower seeds are often larger and are commonly used for oil extraction or as a snack.
  2. Argentinian Sunflower Seeds: As a significant producer of sunflower seeds, Argentina cultivates mainly smaller-sized seeds that are primarily used for oil production.
  3. American Sunflower Seeds: The United States is another significant producer of sunflower seeds. American sunflower seeds are often categorized into oilseed varieties used for oil production and larger confectionery varieties popular as a snack.
  4. Bulgarian Sunflower Seeds: Bulgaria is known for its high-quality sunflower seeds. Bulgarian sunflower seeds are valued for their taste and are commonly used in confectionery products or eaten as a snack.
  5. Chinese Sunflower Seeds: China plays a crucial role as a prominent producer and consumer of sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds from China come in diverse sizes and serve various purposes, including both oil extraction and snacking.
  6. Hungarian Sunflower Seeds: Hungary has a long history of sunflower cultivation. Hungarian sunflower seeds are typically larger and are favored for their flavor. They are often used in bakery products, cooking, or eaten as a snack.

These are just a few examples of regional varieties of sunflower seeds, and different countries may have specific varieties that are cultivated and preferred for various purposes.

Structure of Sunflower seed

Sunflower seed has a unique and interesting structure. Here are its main parts:

  1. Outer hull: The outer hull of the sunflower seed is typically black and white striped and is relatively thick and hard. It protects the kernel inside.
  2. Kernel: The kernel, also called the meat or cotyledon, is the edible part of the sunflower seed. It is surrounded by thin, papery skin and has a pale yellow or greenish color.
  3. Embryo: The embryo is the small, white, crescent-shaped structure that is attached to the kernel. It is part of the seed that will grow into a new sunflower plant if the seed is planted.
  4. Endosperm: The endosperm is the starchy, nutrient-rich tissue that surrounds the embryo and provides it with the nutrients it needs to germinate and grow.

Sunflower seeds are also known for their unique spiraling pattern, which can be seen by looking at the top of the seed where it was attached to the flower head. This pattern is caused by the way the seeds grow and pack together in the flower head.

Uses of Sunflower seed

Sunflower seeds have a variety of culinary and commercial uses. Here are a few examples:

  1. Snack food: Sunflower seeds are often roasted and salted and sold as a healthy snack food.
  2. Baking: Sunflower seeds can be used as an ingredient in baked goods such as bread, muffins, and granola.
  3. Salad topping: Sunflower seeds can be sprinkled on top of salads for added crunch and flavor.
  4. Nut butter: Sunflower seeds can be blended into creamy nut butter that can be used as a spread or a dip.
  5. Oil production: Sunflower seeds are a good source of oil, and are often pressed to extract sunflower oil, which is used in cooking, salad dressings, and other food products.
  6. Animal feed: Sunflower seeds and their byproducts are often used as feed for livestock and other animals.
  7. Birdseed: Sunflower seeds are a popular ingredient in birdseed mixes, as they are a good source of nutrition for birds.
  8. Cosmetics: Sunflower oil is often used as an ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products, such as lotions and lip balms, due to its moisturizing properties.

Types of Sunflower seed

There are several different types of sunflower seeds, each with its unique characteristics and uses. Here are a few common types:

  1. Confectionery sunflower seeds: These are the most commonly consumed type of sunflower seed and are often used as a snack food. They have a larger size, striped black and white hull, and a grayish-white kernel.
  2. Oilseed sunflower seeds: These seeds are smaller than confectionery sunflower seeds and have a black hull. They are high in oil content and are often used for oil production.
  3. High oleic sunflower seeds: These seeds have a higher level of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, than other types of sunflower seeds. This makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which makes them a good choice for use in processed foods or for high-temperature cooking.
  4. NuSun sunflower seeds: These seeds were developed to provide a healthy alternative to traditional oils high in saturated and trans fats. They have a lower saturated fat content and a higher monounsaturated fat content and are often used in baking, cooking, and frying.
  5. Organic sunflower seeds: These are sunflower seeds that are grown using organic farming practices, which means they are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. They are often used in health food products or as an ingredient in organic snack foods.