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Financial Promises of Grape Seed Oil
Economy, Business And Markets

Financial Promises of Grape Seed Oil

Different types of oils are used globally for cooking and in various industries, including cosmetics.
Studies show a global inclination toward the use of plant-based oil derived from olive, palm, rapeseed and sunflower seed in cooking. This is while oil obtained from pomegranate and grape seeds are gaining in popularity.
Oil is obtained from the pulverized grape seeds by pressing or extraction. An article by Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz investigates investment opportunities in grape seed oil production in Iran.
Although the use of grape seed oil goes way back in history, small-scale factory production began in the late 18th century in Italy near the country’s abundant vineyards. However, it was France that founded the first large-scale industrial unit for grape seed oil production in 1918.
The oil began to get attention from many grape-growing countries as a byproduct of their vineyards.
Grape seed oil used to be imported into Iran before the vegetable oil company, Saman Daneh Fariman, started producing the oil three years ago. The company is currently the sole producer of grape seed oil in Iran.

  Production Process
In general, grape seed oil is extracted via one of these three methods: cold-pressing, using solvent and a combination of both.
The seeds are removed mechanically from raisins and then washed to remove adherent pulp. They are dried, ground, pre-heated and hydraulically pressed and the oil subsequently settled, refined, bleached and winterized. The yield is about 17%.
Solvent extracted and refined grape seed oil is more stable and has a longer shelf life, better aroma and pleasant visual appeal. However, studies show that using the solvent (hexane in this case) increases the health risks of the end product.
Pressing followed by solvent extraction is the method most widely employed for handling a wide variety of oilseeds in the world. Another possibility is the supercritical extraction with carbon dioxide in which the yield obtained is 12%.

  Comparative Advantages
Production of grape seed oil is beneficial because of the large-scale cultivation of grapes in Iran.
Fars Province, accounting for 68% of vineyards in the country, could benefit from grape seed oil manufacturing. Khorasan Razavi, North and South Khorasan, Qazvin, West and East Azarbaijan, Hamedan and Zanjan provinces are also major grape producers and represent comparative advantages for the industry.
Establishing grape seed oil factories in the vicinity of grape juice manufacturing plants is recommended by experts for providing easy access to raw material and reducing transportation costs.
Since imports account for a big share of Iran’s vegetable oil market, development of domestic industries producing grape seed oil could effectively reduce reliance on imports. The sector also has the potential to raise foreign exchange revenues through export.

  Investment Requirements
The investment needed for starting a grape seed oil factory is largely affected by the targeted volume of production. An investment of about 8 billion rials (around $235,000) is needed for establishing a medium-sized factory, with an annual capacity of producing 500 tons of grape seed oil.
The above figure is needed for establishment of the production line alone, while another 5 billion rials (about $147,000) would be required for the laboratory and packaging equipment.
The minimum area required for factory establishment is 5,000 square meters. The minimum number of workforce required is 25 and the payback period is around two years.

  Benefits
Grape seed oil is beneficial in the treatment of a number of health issues, including varicose veins, acne, wrinkles, wounds, bruising, stretch marks, hemorrhoids, premature aging, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, visual impairment, cataract and macular degeneration.
Studies also suggest that its free radical scavenging activity may strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Grape seed oil is suitable for cooking as it can handle high temperatures without smoking, burning or splattering.  Its smoke point (around 215 Celsius) is higher than many other oils such as olive, corn and sesame. The oil is also an excellent ingredient in salad dressings, marinades and homemade mayonnaise.
The inodorous, tasteless and colorless qualities of grape seed oil have attracted chemists in the cosmetic industry. It is used as an additive in soaps and cosmetics. So far, no side effects or allergic reactions have been associated with the application of the oil on the skin.

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