I.F.T. panel: Healthier fats and oils benefit bakery applications
(From left): Bob Wainwright, innovation director at Cargill; Fernanda Davoli, principal scientist at Cargill; Silvana Martini, Ph.D., Utah State University; Serpil Metin, principal scientist at Cargill; Janet Bones, assistant vice-president of R.&D. at Cargill; Alejandro Marangoni, Ph.D., University of Guelph

CHICAGO — Ultrasound, a technology new to fats and oils, potentially may change the playing field for bakery shortening users. And there’s more news in structured emulsions, as well as methods to predict performance and target consumer preferences. All were discussed during a symposium, “Healthier Fat and Oil Systems in Bakery Applications,” held July 18 during the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and exposition in Chicago.

Silvana Martini, Ph.D., Utah State University, conducted a study about using high-intensity ultrasound to change the physical properties of non-trans fats. She found that if applied to the fat under low-temperature, supercooled conditions, ultrasound may increase elasticity and produce smaller crystals with a higher solid fat content. This allows the resulting fat to replace trans fats in baked foods.

Monoglyceride-structured oil/water emulsions were proposed by Alejandro Marangoni, Ph.D., University of Guelph, as shortening substitutes. These monoglygeride gels are compatible with any oil that bakers wish to use, thus increasing flexibility during the formulating stage. Dr. Marangonia claimed that by using these novel mixtures, bakers may reduce the fat content of their products, decrease mixing time, reduce cost and enable growers to stretch their oil-producing crops by 30%.

Fernanda Davoli, principal scientist, Cargill, shared the way she applied materials science to develop healthy fat systems. She and her team developed a predictive tool by using X-ray tomography, thermal analysis, rheology and microscopy to measure the texture of different fat systems. She also took into account experience shared from expert bakers. Ms. Davoli said that materials science principles allow faster development of functional solutions for targeted baked products, and that each, be it pie crust or cookies, needs its own dedicated solution. She then described a few successful examples, including water-in-oil emulsions and a maize starch called Starrier.

Finally, Bob Wainwright, innovation director, Cargill, spoke on targeting consumer preference with bakery oils and shortenings. In his studies, he found that taste is the No. 1 purchase driver for consumers. Shoppers view partially hydrogenated oils (phos) as unhealthy, but few know the difference between phos and fully hydrogenated oils. This makes it difficult for food scientists to find replacements, he said. Some suggestions that he offered were trait-enhanced oils, naturally semi-solid fats and even fully hydrogenated oils, although more consumer education would be necessary.

The symposium was organized by I.F.T.’s Food Chemistry, Food Engineering and Product Development divisions.