Canola oil
High-oleic oils, including those sourced from canola and soy, are effective tools in eliminating phos.

Results show systems to reduce saturated fat work

While product developers face a deadline to rid their products of partially hydrogenated oils (phos), they also may seek to keep saturated fat content as low as possible. High-oleic oils, including those sourced from canola and soy, are two effective tools, according to recent studies.

The Food and Drug Administration in June 2015 ruled there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that phos, which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for any use in human food. Companies have until June 18, 2018, to come into compliance.

Researchers from Minneapolis-based Cargill presented three novel approaches to reducing saturated fats in bakery applications, without the need for phos, during the American Oil Chemists’ Society annual meeting in May. The fat systems lower saturated fat levels by as much as 40% in shortenings, without compromising finished product attributes.

In one method, Cargill researchers replaced some of the traditional saturated fat with a blend of canola oil and starch.

“Canola oil was used as foundational oil because of its low saturated fat content, typically 7%,” said Bob Wainwright, innovation director for dressings, sauces and oils for Cargill and based in Charlotte, N.C. “This allows us to deliver the lowest total saturated fat content functional shortening possible. In addition, where higher oxidative stability is required, such as to deliver specified shelf life, high-oleic canola oil (which offers greater oxidative stability but equivalent saturated fatty acid content compared to commodity canola oil) is readily substitutable.”

In a separate study, Cargill researchers focused on controlling how fat solidifies. As fat cools, it forms crystals. The researchers found that by combining vegetable waxes and monoglycerides with canola oil and palm stearin, they could influence the size, shape and speed at which crystals form.

“Palm stearins (or palm hard fractions) allow us to build the required structure and body into a bakery shortening, thereby delivering the necessary functionality,” Mr. Wainwright said. “Such an approach also offers label appeal to the extent that ‘hydrogenated’ does not appear on the ingredient statement.”

A final approach explored using emulsions to dilute saturated fat levels. While water and fat naturally separate, Cargill researchers found a way to encase water droplets in shells made of monoglycerides and hard fats.

“Judicious selection of monoglycerides gives us the ability to influence the body, structure and crystallization attributes of bakery shortenings while contributing a very small increase to saturated fat content,” Mr. Wainwright said. “In addition, some consumers view ‘mono and diglycerides’ as more label-friendly alternatives than `hydrogenated.’”

Dow AgroSciences, L.L.C., Indianapolis, offers an omega-9 fatty acid canola oil that is high in monounsaturated fats, contains zero trans fats and a low amount of saturated fat. It may be integrated into existing operations and used in a variety of applications, including frying, baking, spraying, par-frying and in recipe applications. The omega-9 canola shortening blend may be interesterified or blended with another hard fat, and it may replace any conventional liquid oil 1:1 in a shortening blend.

In another test, Qualisoy compared pho soybean oil, a palm/soy blend, enzymatically interesterified (E.I.E.) conventional soybean oil and E.I.E. high-oleic soybean oil in donut frying. The E.I.E. high-oleic soybean oil, which has less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil, produced donuts similar in texture, interior grain, spread and height, and donut hole star shape and size to pho soybean oil.

Oil weeping was lowest with donuts fried in pho soybean oil and second lowest with E.I.E. high-oleic soybean oil. Oil weeping is when oil leaches out of the donuts providing an oily, possibly soggy, taste and mouthfeel.

Qualisoy, an independent, third-party collaboration among the soybean industry, expects supply of U.S. high-oleic soybean oil to reach 140 million lbs this year and 9.3 billion lbs by 2024.