Zero Acre FAQ
Cultured Oil is cooking oil made by fermentation, resulting in high levels of healthy fats, a small environmental footprint, a clean taste, and a high smoke point!
Fermentation describes the process of microorganisms (or "cultures") consuming natural sugars and converting those sugars into entirely new foods. Just as there are sourdough and wine cultures, there are also oil cultures. An oil culture converts sugar into the healthy delicious fats that make up Cultured Oil.
Cultured Oil is primarily monounsaturated fat, the heart-healthy and heat-stable fat also found in olive and avocados.
In every serving of Cultured Oil (1 Tbsp - 14 grams), there are about 13 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, and 0.4 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
Olive oils and avocado oils contain between 55-83% monounsaturated fat, and up to 21% polyunsaturated fat. Cultured Oil contains over 90% monounsaturated fat and less than 4% polyunsaturated fat.
The healthy fats in Cultured Oil are a result of microbial communities fermenting sugars into oil.
Non-GMO sugar is fed to a community of microorganisms, also known as a "culture," that eat the sugar and convert it into healthy fats –– primarily monounsaturated fat, which is liquid at room temperature and therefore considered an "oil". After a few days of fermenting sugar into oil, the culture is pressed to release the oil, like pressing oil from an olive.
Every bottle contains two ingredients: Cultured Oil and Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E).
Every bottle contains Cultured Oil and natural antioxidants, including alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocopherol, collectively called “mixed tocopherols,” a form of vitamin E. Mixed tocopherols are found naturally in many foods, including olive oil, nuts, seeds, and spinach and provide protection against oxidation (rancidity).
Read more about how fermentation is responsible for many of our favorite foods, including Cultured Oil.
Cultured Oil is sky high in heart-healthy and heat-stable monounsaturated fat. Every batch of Cultured Oil is slightly different, but typically Cultured Oil contains 90-94% monounsaturated fat, and less than 4% polyunsaturated (including less than 3% omega-6 linoleic acid) and saturated fat. Per 14 gram (1 tablespoon) serving of Cultured Oil, that translates to about 13g monounsaturated fat, 0.5g saturated fat, and 0.4g polyunsaturated fat.
Cultured Oil is better for people, for the planet, and for our taste buds. Here are the highlights:
Health benefits of Cultured Oil:
- Cultured Oil contains more than 90% heart-healthy and heat-stable monounsaturated fat, even more than olive oil and avocado oil.
- Cultured Oil contains less of the fats that have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, and poor health, with less than 3% omega-6 linoleic acid. That’s up to 10x less than even olive oil or avocado oil.
- Cultured Oil has a high smoke point and high oxidative stability, meaning it holds up to heat and storage, and doesn’t easily break down into compounds that harm our health.
- Cultured oil is vegan, keto, kosher, Whole30 Approved®, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, allergen-free, pesticide-free, glyphosate-free, GMO-free, and deforestation-free.
Environmental benefits of Cultured Oil:
- 85% less land use than canola oil
- 86% less greenhouse gas emissions than soybean oil
- 99% less water consumption than olive oil
- Comes in an infinitely-recyclable aluminum bottle
Culinary benefits of Cultured Oil:
- A delicious, clean taste and high smoke point (485ºF) make Cultured Oil a versatile upgrade for all-purpose cooking duties.
- Use Cultured Oil for everything — deep fry, stir fry, roast, bake, sauté, dress, spray, brush, and drizzle.
- Cultured Oil is liquid at room temperature and stays liquid in the fridge, making it great for dressings and marinades.
- Cultured Oil has a high smoke point and high oxidative stability, meaning it holds up to heat and storage, and doesn’t easily break down into compounds that harm our health.
Cultured Oil contains natural antioxidants, including alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocopherol, collectively called “mixed tocopherols,” a form of vitamin E. Mixed tocopherols are found naturally in many foods, including olive oil, nuts, seeds, and spinach and provide protection against oxidation (rancidity).
As part of our mission to improve the health of not only people, but also the planet, we use 100% recyclable aluminum packaging, in addition to a 100% recyclable kraft shipping box.
Aluminum is lighter and more sustainable than glass and infinitely recyclable. Infinitely recyclable refers to materials that can be recycled an infinite number of times without the quality of the material degrading. While the phrase “recyclable” is attached to countless products these days, that doesn’t mean they can all be recycled forever.
Today, about 75% of all aluminum produced in history, nearly a billion tons, is still in use. Studies find that consumers are also about 70% more likely to recycle aluminum than glass or plastic. And because aluminum is lighter than glass, it is more environmentally friendly in transportation.
Unlike glass (even dark green or amber-tinted bottles), aluminum packaging also completely blocks UV light, making the oil less susceptible to oxidation, rancidity, and waste. It’s also less susceptible to breaking or cracking than glass, further reducing waste.
Currently, our bottles are 99.7% aluminum and contain a plastic pour spout and tip. We are working to replace these parts with aluminum as well.
We named ourselves Zero Acre Farms because we intend to steadily decrease the amount of land needed to produce healthy and widely available cooking oils and fats. Already today, a mid-size fermentation facility produces ~90-fold more oil in a week than the same amount of land would produce from soybeans in a year.
In everything we do, we strive for zero harm to both the natural environment and human health; that means zero acres harmed and zero chronic disease.
When we look at the vegetable oil industry, which is cutting down forests and plowing through natural habitats at an alarming rate, while filling our foods with substances that are truly bad for us, we believe our goal is well worth pursuing, even if it doesn’t happen overnight.
Our name is our goal. And we hope it makes people stop and think about what’s possible.
Fermentation is the original culinary art after fire and dates back well over 10,000 years. Today, an estimated one-third of all foods we eat are produced thanks to fermentation, including bread, beer, cheese, yogurt, wine, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, coffee, and even chocolate
Fermentation not only produces wonderful flavors and textures, it also efficiently converts low-value sugars into high-value foods, and does so extremely efficiently. Thanks to fermentation, Cultured Oil is produced from natural plant sugars in only a few days, compared to the months or years it takes for oil crops to produce oil. Fermentation also results in Cultured Oil’s unparalleled healthy fat profile, with more of the good and less of the bad. Learn more about fermentation.
Cultured Oil is made by fermentation. Fermentation describes the process of microbial communities or “cultures” converting natural sugars into foods like beer, bread, wine, and yogurt. Just as there are sourdough and wine cultures, there are also oil cultures, which convert natural plant sugars into the healthy delicious fats that make up Cultured Oil.
The process starts with sunlight, which plants photosynthesize to store energy as sugars. Those natural plant sugars are fed to an oil culture, which efficiently makes healthy oil via fermentation. The oil is pressed, separated from the culture, filtered, bottled, and shipped to you. Learn more.
Fermentation describes the process of microbial communities or “cultures” converting natural sugars into foods like beer, wine, and yogurt. The microorganisms that make up a fermentation culture can include bacteria, microalgae, yeast and other fungi. At Zero Acre Farms, our product development focuses on those cultures that efficiently convert plant sugars into healthy fats in only a few days. In the fermentation of Cultured Oil, the sugars that are fermented come from non-GMO, perennial sugarcane.
We’re not the first ones to think of fermenting plants into nutrients. Ruminant animals like cows and sheep have been doing it for millions of years with the help of microbial cultures in their guts, which break down the fibers and sugars in plants (typically grasses) and convert them into short-chain fatty acids. We embrace this same ancient process of fermentation to make healthy fats.
Thanks to the magic of making healthy fats with fermentation and not conventional oil crop agriculture, the production of Cultured Oil is location agnostic. That means Cultured Oil can be produced anywhere in the world. Currently, our fermentation partners are located in North America, South America, and Europe. If any one continent experienced a natural disaster, there would still be a supply of Cultured Oil.
Cultured Oil production results in zero deforestation. In contrast, millions of acres of biodiverse rainforest must be destroyed for oil crop agriculture to produce oils like soybean, palm, coconut, and others. Many vegetable oil crops only grow near the equator and compete for land with biodiverse rainforests. One hundred percent of Cultured Oil is produced outside of equatorial zones. That means not only less land used, and less greenhouse emissions, but also less impact on biodiversity.
The process to produce Cultured Oil is also climate agnostic. Unlike vegetable oils, which change in composition, yield, and price depending on changing weather conditions, Cultured Oil's composition and yield are extremely consistent.
No. Unlike most vegetable oils, which are extracted and refined using harsh chemical solvents like hexane, Cultured Oil is pressed (no harsh chemical solvents needed), filtered with natural earth clay, and steam distilled to bring you the purest cooking oil with minimal free fatty acids.
Most vegetable oils contain high levels of unstable polyunsaturated fats such as omega-6 linoleic acid, which can easily oxidize during and after refining. Because Cultured Oil is so low in polyunsaturated fats (less than 4%) and so high in stable monounsaturated fats, it is significantly less susceptible to oxidation and rancidity throughout pressing, bottling, and storage than most vegetable oils. But just to be safe, we also add vitamin E (an antioxidant) in the form of natural mixed tocopherols to further prevent and reduce oxidation, ensuring as fresh and pure an oil as possible.
In third-party tests, Cultured Oil results in significantly fewer oxidation products (like toxic aldehydes) compared to olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and other cooking oils.
Fats and oils are used by all living organisms for structure, in the form of cell walls and membranes, and for energy storage. Fats are the most efficient molecules for energy storage, because they are lightweight, energy dense, and do not mix with water. When organisms (pigs, chickens, bears, humans…) are planning for the future, whether it's for a long winter for their offspring in the form of a seed or an egg, or just until the next meal, they produce fat as a lightweight source of healthy, readily available energy. Oil cultures are no different, and like a hibernating animal, or a seed, when conditions are right, they will make fat and plump up.
Just like we carry around gasoline and diesel to burn in our vehicles, organisms carry around fats and oils to burn in their biological engines. Fats and oils are extremely healthy when they are in harmony with the organism relying on them. Just like a diesel engine burns diesel, not gasoline, and a gasoline engine burns gasoline, not diesel, different organisms thrive on different fats and oils. Humans did not evolve to efficiently burn vegetable oils, but rather those oils high in fats such as monounsaturated fat, and low in omega-6 linoleic acid.
Diet and Health
Yes, Cultured Oil is gluten-free.
Yes, Cultured Oil is vegan. There are no animal inputs used to produce Cultured Oil.
Cavemen didn’t use much cooking oil. They hunted wooly mammoths, caught fish, dug up root vegetables, and picked fruit. But today, we live in a world of stir fries, deep fries, salad dressings, and marinades that call for liquid oil. Cooking oil has become a centerpiece of modern diets; it makes our food delicious and makes cooking easier. But many of the cooking oils we use today are high in inflammatory fats that harm our health and the planet’s.
The safest cooking oil to use is one that is made of the same fats that humans have been eating for hundreds of thousands of years (like monounsaturated fats), low in the fats that humans have never eaten much of (like omega-6 linoleic acid), and doesn’t destroy the planet.
If our Paleolithic ancestors were to use a cooking oil, we think they’d go Cultured.
Yes, Cultured Oil is GMO-free and does not contain any genetically-modified materials. All plant sugars used in the fermentation of Cultured Oil are also from non-GMO sources. Cultured Oil is also Glyphosate Residue Free certified.
As of January 2022, all food products that contain modified genetic material that cannot be found in nature must be labeled "Bioengineered." Cultured Oil does not contain any such ingredients and is not bioengineered.
At this time, we are not pursuing organic certification, but we do prioritize the qualities that organic products typically reflect, without paying the steep price for Organic Certification and Accreditation. Cultured Oil is Glyphosate Residue Free certified, does not contain herbicides or pesticides, is GMO-free, and has a significant environmental benefit compared to other oils.
There are no pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides like glyphosate in Cultured Oil. Cultured oil is Glyphosate Residue Free certified.
Yes, Cultured Oil is a low histamine food.
Yes, Cultured Oil is expeller-pressed, without the use of harsh chemical solvents like hexane.
The short answer:
Cultured Oil is made up of the same fats found in all other foods, there’s nothing new here. What’s new is the higher amounts of good fats like monounsaturated fats and the lower amount of inflammatory fats like omega-6 linoleic acid, as well as the tiny environmental footprint. Cultured Oil is fully compliant with all U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. The only ingredient added to Cultured Oil is mixed tocopherols, a natural form of Vitamin E, which serves as an antioxidant.
The longer answer:
The fats found in Cultured Oil are the same fats that humans have been eating for hundreds of thousands of years. There are no new compounds or novel fatty acids. This was not the case with trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, or Crisco. Those fats and products introduced entirely new compounds to the human diet in hopes that they would fool our biology into digesting them. Oops. Partially hydrogenated oils and the trans fats they contain are thought to have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths while in widespread use, and Olestra, a completely synthetic liposaccharide that is not absorbed in the digestive tract, caused gastrointestinal issues and stomach pain.
We strongly believe that the key to moving forward is in looking back. Humans were just fine for hundreds of thousands of years relying mostly on monounsaturated fat, saturated fat (primarily stearic and palmitic acid), and a little bit of polyunsaturated fat (a tiny amount of linoleic acid, as well as omega-3's). There's no need to invent new fats; we have the healthiest fats for humans already. Monounsaturated fats, for example, have been shown in study after study to improve health outcomes in humans.
The microorganisms responsible for making Cultured Oil follow the same biological cues as any other organism that naturally makes fat, from cows and pigs to coconuts and olives. The primary difference is the size of the organism, as well as the efficiency in which these organisms produce fats. Microbial cultures that make abundant fat, also known as “oil cultures,” can produce up to 90% their weight in healthy fats in only a few days, an incredible feat thanks to fermentation. Cultured Oil contains primarily monounsaturated fat, followed by saturated fat, and less than 3% linoleic acid.
To ensure the safety of every bottle of Cultured Oil, we test each batch multiple times for quality and purity, across a number of different measures, including:
- Comprehensive fatty acid profile
- Free Fatty Acids [FFA]
- Peroxide Value
- Inherent Oxidative Stability
- Individual Antioxidant Content
- Total Antioxidant Content
- Specific Gravity
- Karl Fischer Moisture
- Water Activity
We record this information for each batch and make it available to you. Just scan the QR code on the back of your bottle to see all the details, specific to your bottle of Cultured Oil. That’s a level of transparency that doesn’t exist with any other oil.
Cultured Oil’s low levels of omega-6 linoleic acid and other unstable polyunsaturated fats and its high levels of heat-stable monounsaturated fat means Cultured Oil does not easily oxidize. To determine the safety and stability of Cultured Oil for cooking, we had it put to the test. In a third-party analysis of Cultured Oil versus other cooking oils, the production of aldehydes was followed over time during a pan frying experiment in which different liquid cooking oils were exposed to 356ºF.
After 90 minutes of heating, Cultured Oil produced 6-11 times fewer PUFA-derived aldehydes as moderate-linoleic oils like avocado and olive oil, and about 20 times fewer than high-linoleic oils such as sunflower oil and soybean oil. Cultured Oil was the only cooking oil studied to show no measurable PUFA-derived toxic aldehyde generation after 10 minutes of cooking, a typical amount of time for pan-frying and stir-frying.
Every bottle of Cultured Oil is low in linoleic acid and free of GMOs, pesticides or herbicides, solvents like hexane, and major food allergens like gluten, soy, corn, and peanuts. Cultured Oil is also Whole30 Approved, Glyphosate Residue Free certified, Kosher, and free of common allergens.
Cooking with Cultured Oil
Cultured Oil has a very clean, neutral taste, with subtle buttery and nutty notes.
Cultured Oil does not need to be refrigerated, but it can be refrigerated and remain liquid. Cultured Oil can be used to make salad dressings and marinades that don’t solidify and clump up in the fridge.
For the first batch of Cultured Oil, we are estimating a 1-year shelf life. However, the shelf life may be updated and increased over time as we have more accurate measures. To look up the most up-to-date shelf life of your bottle of Cultured Oil, scan the QR code on the back of your bottle or visit this link.
Yes, Cultured Oil is extremely stable at high temperature cooking. Low levels of polyunsaturated fats like omega-6 linoleic acid and high levels of heat-stable monounsaturated fat means Cultured Oil does not easily oxidize. In a third-party study analyzing the effect of heating different types of cooking oil, Cultured Oil was found to be the most stable and result in the fewest oxidation products like aldehydes. After 90 minutes of heating, Cultured Oil produced 6-11 times fewer PUFA-derived aldehydes as moderate-linoleic oils like avocado and olive oil, and about 20 times fewer than high-linoleic oils such as sunflower oil and soybean oil.
Cultured Oil was the only cooking oil studied to show no measurable PUFA-derived toxic aldehyde generation after 10 minutes of cooking, a typical amount of time for pan-frying and stir-frying.
While high heat has the largest effect on oil oxidation, oil also begins to oxidize and turn rancid when it is exposed to light. For that reason, we use aluminum bottles to package Cultured Oil, which does not let in light. Even dark green tinted glass lets in light, especially while sitting on supermarket or warehouse shelves under fluorescent lights [*]. Recent studies have even suggested that fluorescent lights are more damaging to oil than UV light [*].
In addition to oxidative stability, Cultured Oil also has a high smoke point of 485ºF. Only avocado oils have a similarly high smoke point (428-482ºF). While oxidative stability is more reflective of the health impact of cooking an oil at high heat, smoke point matters when it comes to cooking foods at high temperatures. “Smoke point” refers to the temperature at which the oil starts smoking, as a result of impurities (other compounds and materials in the oil) burning, which can result in undesirable flavors, acrolein, and a smoky kitchen.
In addition to oxidative stability, Cultured Oil also has a high smoke point of 485ºF. Only avocado oils have a similarly high smoke point (428-482ºF). While oxidative stability is more reflective of the health impact of cooking an oil at high heat, smoke point matters when it comes to cooking foods at high temperatures. “Smoke point” refers to the temperature at which the oil starts smoking, as a result of impurities (other compounds and materials in the oil) burning, which can result in undesirable flavors, acrolein, and a smoky kitchen. Both oxidative stability and smoke point should be considered when choosing a cooking oil.
When it comes to choosing a healthy fat, olive oil is a much better option than seed oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, and safflower oil. However, olive oil has a number of drawbacks as well, including a large environmental footprint, a low smoke point, and a history of adulteration and mislabeling. When deciding whether to use olive oil or Cultured Oil, here’s what to keep in mind:
Taste: Most olive oil has a moderate to strong flavor, with bitter, grassy, and peppery notes. Cultured Oil has a more neutral taste, with subtle buttery or nutty notes.
Healthy fats: Olive oil is often prized for its high monounsaturated fat content, containing between 55-83% of the heart-healthy fat. Cultured Oil contains over 90% monounsaturated fat.
Omega-6 fats: Most olive oils contain on average about 13% omega-6 linoleic acid, with some olive oils containing up to 27%. Excess linoleic acid consumption has been linked to inflammation and other health issues. Cultured Oil contains less than 3% linoleic acid.
High heat cooking: Olive oil has a low smoke point and moderate oxidative stability at high heat. Cultured Oil has a high smoke point and very high oxidative stability at high heat.
Cold applications: Olive oil remains liquid at room temperature and slowly solidifies during refrigeration. Cultured Oil remains liquid both at room temperature and in the refrigerator. (A 70/30 blend of Cultured Oil and extra virgin olive oil in a dressing allows for the flavor of the olive oil to pop, while remaining liquid in the refrigerator).
Antioxidants: Both olive oil and Cultured Oil contain antioxidants, including tocopherols. Extra virgin olive oil also contains a variety of phenolic compounds, namely tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol and pinoresinol.
Environmental impact: Olive oil is one of the thirstiest crops, second only to almonds, and requires significantly more land to produce than other major oil crops. Cultured Oil has a very small environmental footprint, using 99% less water and 95% less land than olive oil. In addition, Cultured Oil’s carbon footprint is less than half that of olive oil’s.
Adulteration: The olive oil industry has a history of adulteration, with some reports estimating that 75-80% of all extra virgin olive oil in the U.S. is adulterated. Cultured Oil is guaranteed authentic. Each bottle of Cultured Oil is linked to a single batch and customers can scan a QR code on the bottle to look up its unique composition and authenticity.
Yes, Cultured Oil is a one-to-one replacement for all liquid vegetable oils, including soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, and palm olein.
While Cultured Oil is a one-to-one replacement for liquid oils like canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower, avocado, grape seed, and corn oil, Cultured Oil is not a replacement for lard, butter, or tallow, which are animal fats that are solid at room temperature and in the refrigerator. Just as butter and lard don’t make for a great salad dressing, Cultured Oil doesn’t spread or bake like solid fats and is not a one-to-one replacement for animal fats or shortenings in recipes.
Shipping and Delivery
At this time, we are not offering expedited shipping. Keep an eye out as we grow.
Currently we are estimating that the first orders of Cultured Oil will ship by early September. You’ll get an email with tracking when your order ships.
Standard shipping can take 7-10 business days, depending on the carrier. You’ll get an email with tracking as soon as your order ships!
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We offer a satisfaction guarantee on your first bottle of Cultured Oil within 30 days of receipt of your order.
We do not offer samples at this time.
At this time, we are not able to ship internationally, but keep an eye out as we grow.
Select your desired quantity of Cultured Oil and select the “subscribe and save” option. From there, you can select the frequency you’d like to receive your order.
Subscription orders for one bottle get a discount on every order. Subscription orders of two bottles or more get a discount and free shipping on every order. Ordering more bottles less frequently means lower carbon emissions in shipping, and we’re pretty into that.