Healthier Oils Program

Healthier Oils Program

The Healthier Oils Program aims to reduce intakes of saturated fat by encouraging food outlets to switch to using healthier cooking oils. It covers the use of oil in all food preparation activities such as salad dressings, stir-frying, shallow and deep-frying, baking, and sauces.

To find out what free consultation and support is available to your LGA or business, contact our team on

What’s the difference between oils?

Healthier oils are those which have significant amounts of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to saturated/trans fatty acids, for example, plant-based oils (often referred to as vegetable, fruit, nut or seed oils) including olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, avocado, macadamia, rice bran and peanut oil.

Unhealthy oils have considerable amounts of saturated or trans fatty acids compared to unsaturated fatty acids and include dripping, palm oil and coconut oil.

A healthier oil should have:

  • 20g per 100ml or less saturated fat
  • 1g per 100ml or less trans fat

This information can be found on the nutrition information panel on the oil container.

Read more on saturated and trans fats. 

Why is this so important?

On average, Australians eat more saturated fat per day than recommended. Eating a lot of saturated fat may increase blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease; and with more Australians eating out more often, there’s an important role every food outlet can play to improve the health of their customers and the community.

Switching oils makes a difference


Using a more saturated fat oil

Replacing with a mostly unsaturated fat oil

Difference in saturated fat

Cup of hot chips

Replace palm oil with canola

8.4 g



Piece fried battered fish

Replace palm oil with canola




6 chicken nuggets fried

Replace palm oil with canola




Salad dressing

Replace coconut oil with olive oil




2 Slices toasted sourdough
Replace butter (1T) with avocado (2T)




Source: AusNut 2011-13 Databank, ABS.

Disclaimer: These are estimates only to provide an idea of the reductions in saturated fat that can be achieved by swapping oils higher in saturated fat with those higher in unsaturated fats. The fat content of cooked foods can vary due to differences in food composition, surface area, cooking temperatures, types of oil used and cooking methods.

Who is the program for?

The program is simple and can be applied to any food outlet – from the smallest local takeaway to the largest national food service organisation. Since June 2010, the Healthier Oils Program has worked with local government, large food outlets and large-scale food service organisations to remove significant amounts of saturated fat from Australian meals.

How the program works

Through the program, the Heart Foundation offers a range of support, including one-to-one consultation, group workshops, advice, information and resources to three levels of the food industry:

  • Local government and environmental health officers, who then educate and encourage local food outlets on the value of using healthier oils
  • Large food outlets and the restaurant sector
  • Large-scale food service organisations

The approach, advice and support is tailored to the needs and complexity of each business.

Get involved

To find out what free consultation and support is available to your LGA or business, contact our team on


Case studies

Council resources