Oil-structuring agents can transform liquid oils into highly functional bakery shortenings. They eliminate formation of trans fats and reduce levels of reducing saturated fats. In this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, James Anderson, sales manager for Trancendim Solutions, and Steven Baker, an Innovation Center scientist, both with Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, KS, describe how this works.

Baking & Snack: With the move away from partially hydrogenated shortenings, how can the baker be sure his shortenings will perform to structure finished products?

Steven Baker: Caravan Ingredients has an excellent group of research bakers that have evaluated the current selection of new zero trans fat shortenings. This team can work with the baker to ensure any solutions, including shortening, will perform in their particular finished product and lend technical expertise when needed. Additionally, we have a technical service department who devotes 100% of their time to working in our customer's facilities, incorporating new products and ensuring the product is performing as expected.

What was the scientific breakthrough that enabled development of Trancendim for bakery shortenings?

Mr. Baker: The breakthrough was looking at emulsifiers in a different light. Traditionally, Caravan Ingredients had focused on the functionality of monoglycerides in food. By adjusting the ratio of monoglycerides, diglycerides and triglycerides in a given emulsifier, we are able to create an emulsifier that acts as an oil structuring agent.

How does this work?

James N. Anderson: Trancendim can replace the solids in shortenings and margarines that contribute to functionality in baked goods. These solids were formally derived from hydrogenated oils or, more recently, tropical oils such as palm or palm fractions. Trancendim enhanced shortenings and margarines can be created using lower cost domestic salad oils such as soy or canola that offer a clean ingredient declaration by removing hydrogenation and eliminating tropical oils. In addition, Trancendim provides a healthier nutritional profile through reduced saturated fat levels and zero trans fat.

How is Trancendim different from the emulsifiers that bakers have long used?

Mr. Baker: Traditionally emulsifiers have been used to increase volume, prolong softness, and impart a finer and more consistent crumb in baked goods. Trancendim functions as an oil structuring agent and acts more like a fat rather than an emulsifier. This functionality is what allows for a reduced saturated fat and zero grams trans fat product as we are replacing the solids from partially hydrogenated or palm oils with Trancendim.

Can a baker specify that his shortening supplier employ Trancendim technology for the shortenings he buys?

Mr. Anderson: Generally yes. Once the decision has been made that a Trancendim enhanced shortening or margarine meets their requirements the baker may request their shortening supplier produce the product or contact Caravan Ingredients directly for a referral.