KANSAS CITY — When it became clear that partially hydrogenated oils (phos) had fallen out of favor and were going to be phased out, many lamented that this was the end of the donut. Phos uniquely delivered the functionality necessary to fry a donut while also imparting the proper taste, texture and mouthfeel consumers expect.
Fats have an important relationship to the foods they fry. They not only conduct the heat necessary to cook the product, but they also become a part of the food itself through absorption. These fats must be stable enough to not break down in the fryer yet also impart the proper taste, texture and mouthfeel to the finished product. Phos have the functionality to deliver these characteristics and the flexibility to fry a variety of foods. With the Food and Drug Administration removing phos’ GRAS status effective June 18, 2018, many thought that donuts fried in any other fat would never live up to those fried in phos.
While early non-pho alternatives may have struggled to deliver comparable donuts, today’s offerings have come a long way in functionality and diversity.
“There are many non-pho alternatives available,” said John Satumba, Ph.D., food ingredients and analytical chemistry director, global edible oil solutions R.&D., Cargill. “Cargill’s fats and oils portfolio includes high-stability oils, hydrogenated fats, tropical oils, interesterified fats and customized blends.”
There is a plethora of non-pho options available to bakers and snack producers, but it’s important to choose what will meet a product’s specific needs.
“There is no one-size-fits-all shortening product that will work in every process and application,” said Richard Cummisford, director of quality, Columbus Vegetable Oils. “Customers, from small bakeries to large industrial manufacturers, need to evaluate the products in the attempt to make their product quality comparable to or better than the product made with phos.”
To find the right replacement for the fryer, bakers and snack producers can benefit from the guidance of a food scientist and plenty of formulating tests.
“While choosing the right alternative depends on the specific application, our scientists have many years of experience formulating products with non-pho alternatives and can help customers make the right selection, based on their unique needs,” Dr. Satumba said. “And it’s important to consider the eating qualities the oil will impart to the finished product, how it will hold up in the fryer and how easy the oil will be to acquire and use.”