Don Banks

EXPERTISE: Food Science: Oil

Mr. Banks is president of Edible Oil Technology, a consulting firm that provides expertise to an international client base for the production and use of vegetable oils. The firm works with a wide range of clients including seed companies, oil refiners, industrial fryers, snack food companies, nutmeat fryers, bakeries, foodservice companies and frying equipment manufacturers. Mr. Banks established EOT in 1991 following 28 years of industrial experience.


He began his career with Hunt-Wesson Foods, gaining expertise in oil refining, product development, laboratory management and customer support. While at Hunt-Wesson he developed a series of technical seminars and troubleshooting programs to help customers select the best oils to make the best products and to solve production problems involving the use of oils, margarine and shortenings.


In 1970 he joined Frito-Lay, Inc., the snack food division of PepsiCo, Inc. There he established a research program for fats and oils and conducted operations for the next 17 years. At Frito-Lay, he designed, developed and approved oils for over forty different products including potato chips, tortilla chips, corn chips, corn puffs and nutmeats. Oils were also developed for bakery products, confections, candies and coatings.


As each oil was developed, Mr. Banks supported product testing in factory production to insure the oils provided the performance needed to produce optimum quality finished products. During the 17 years that Mr. Banks worked in research, he became a food-processing specialist. With expertise covering a wide range of fried, baked and confectionery products, Mr. Banks provides support to develop new products and to solve problems with existing products for U.S. and international clients.


He has worked with seed companies to develop new and improved oilseed crops through genetic modification. Utilizing contract farming and identity preserved processing, he coordinated the first commercial production of high oleic safflower, high oleic sunflower and high oleic, low linolenic canola. Mr. Banks also developed a special quality oil-handling program (SQ-Oil) for the international shipment of deodorized oil and shortening products directly to users, precluding the expense of further oil processing.


In 1987 he transferred to Frito-Lay corporate headquarters and joined the commodities purchasing group. In purchasing, he monitored oil shipments to 40 snack food plants with annual volume of several hundred million pounds. He coordinated programs and managed development work with major oil processors on a global basis.


Mr. Banks currently serves on a number of industry panels and scientific advisory boards. He has served as a guest lecturer at Texas A&M University. He wrote the introduction for the text, Deep Frying: Chemistry, Nutrition and Practical Applications and authored the chapters on foodservice frying and industrial frying. He is a member of the American Oil Chemists' Society, the Institute of Food Technologists, the National Institute of Oilseed Products and the Snack Food Association. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.


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