Biodiesel Grows, Food Prices Fall

Joanna Schroeder

As Americans celebrate the holiday season, they are paying less for food according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Price Outlook. While biodiesel production is higher than ever, the Consumer Price Index for grocery store items is 2.3 percent less than 2015.

“Food is a universal part of most holiday celebrations, and this year prices have dropped even as biodiesel production is breaking records,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “As we’ve said for almost a decade, more biodiesel production helps the food supply, despite what opponents incorrectly claim.”

This year (2016) marked a record for U.S. biodiesel production and renewable hydrocarbon diesel. NBB anticipates more than 2.6 billion gallons of biodiesel will be produced – a growing number each year since the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“One reason biodiesel benefits the food supply is because it is made from fats and oils. When we grow protein to feed the world, we naturally get more fat and carbohydrates than we can eat,” said Don Scott, NBB’s director of sustainability. “One example is a soybean. To produce the oil needed to make just one gallon of biodiesel soybeans make 30 pounds of protein and 22 pounds of carbs and dietary fiber for the food supply at the same time.”

In other words, the world needs more protein to feed a growing population and this can’t be done, says NBB, without co-producing fat, which stores energy, as a byproduct. Speaking of fat, biodiesel can be produced from any fat or vegetable cooking oil including soybean oil, animal fats or recycled cooking oil.

According to a study by Informa Economics, by creating a market and value for unwanted soybean oil, biodiesel decreases soy protein meal by $20-$40 per ton. This is turn helps livestock producers with feed prices and ultimately helps consumers, says NBB, in the price they pay for meat.

“The bottom line is that biodiesel creates net benefits to food supply, and that’s worth a toast this holiday season,” Rehagen concluded.

advanced biofuels, Biodiesel, NBB, RFS