Beyond price and supply chain, alternative oils can come with other challenges from a functionality standpoint. These, of course, vary across the different oils.

“Some of the challenges, other than high cost, are not being functionally versatile, oxidative stability, flavor, nutritional profile, mass market appeal,” Chandra Ankolekar; PhD; technical manager; bakery, dressings and oils; Kemin Food Technologies. “There can be many advantages to switching to an alternative oil; however, manufacturers need to be sure that the addition of the oil doesn’t cause issues with their product elsewhere such as oxidative stability or flavor.”

Some alternative oils like flaxseed oil can be less oxidatively stable, hindering shelf life. In those instances, it might be necessary to boost the shelf life with other ingredients, such as natural antioxidants. Kemin offers antioxidant solutions to put off lipid oxidation that can degrade the quality of a finished baked food.

“Oxidized lipids will react to form volatile compounds that will cause rancidity in many food products,” he said. “Consumers expect their product to taste fresh throughout its shelf life. Ensuring the stability of your lipids will help meet consumer expectation.”

In their unrefined states, coconut and avocado oil would contribute a flavor profile to a finished baked food or snack. However, these oils are often refined before usage in these formulations, which neutralizes the flavor.

“Most oils used are bland in flavor or have limited overall flavor impact,” said Michelle Peitz, technical sales, refined oils, ADM Oilseeds. “However, fat content, process and added flavors can have an influence on how the oil choice impacts overall flavor of the finished product.”

Price still remains the No. 1 concern with these oils, and it is largely influenced by supply.

“Factors on both the input and output side of an oil crop can impact the overall value of an oil,” Ms. Peitz said. “ADM supports our customers with our expansive knowledge of how the oils are traded, including potential risk and volatility factors that may influence pricing.”

This article is an excerpt from the April 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on fats and oils, click here.