Fast food giant KFC Australia is set to introduce locally sourced canola oil to cook its freshly prepared foods.

The restaurant chain, which has been testing the new oil in Tasmanian stores since October 2010, will introduce the oil across all its more than 610 KFC stores in Australia by the end of May.

The company said that it will support local Australian farmers, by using HOCAN, high-oleic canola oil developed to keep the signature KFC taste, while also increasing its commitment to provide customers with quality food.

KFC chief supply chain officer Michael Clark said that the company had reached agreements with suppliers Cargill, Intergro Foods and MSM Milling to source oil.

“The volume we need means there has needed to be a significant increase in the acreage planted of that particular type of canola,” Clark added.

The company said that it had conducted an extensive research to ensure it did not change the taste of its fried food, and is currently working with farmers now planting the canola crop.

Integro Foods managing director Stuart Roberts commented on the restaurant chain’s move saying, “KFC’s decision to switch to high-oleic canola oil 100% sourced from Australian farmers is great news for consumers and the Australian industry.”

With the new move, KFC will join a list of food companies, including Cadbury, to drop palm oil.

Canola farming is believed to be a $1.6bn industry in Australia with the 2011-12 season producing more than 3 million tonnes of canola.

In Australia, over 10,000 farmers are involved in canola farming.

At the beginning of 2012, the fast food major also launched fresh salads and free range chicken options to its menu.