As bakers look to lower saturated fat content, they run the risk of rancidity. When they are reformulating with shortenings to meet those goals not only must they accommodate functionality and storage changes but also shelf life challenges.

“When stored in cool, dark and dry environments, bakery shortenings have a six-month shelf life,” said Andrea Weis, scientist II, AAK USA. “For most bakery products on the market today, a six-month shelf life for the shortening is sufficient for baked goods to maintain a clean and fresh flavor throughout their time on the supermarket shelf.

“Highly unsaturated liquid oils, like sunflower and safflower, have shorter shelf-lives than saturated fats. For bakery applications which utilize liquid oils, we typically suggest using high-oleic oils, which provide enhanced heat and oxidative stability. AAK offers both high-oleic sunflower and safflower oils.”

Blending hard fats with liquid oils and interesterification are two of the strategies for replacing the functionality of PHOs. However, the unsaturated fats found in the liquid oil has an impact even in those ingredients with high saturates.

“Even in the blends that have high-saturated fatty acids, the presence of the unsaturated lipids from the liquid oil causes oxidative stress that cannot be avoided, and the oxidation rate is likely to be similar to liquid oil by itself,” said Lan Ban, PhD, director of R&D, Kemin.

The same is true in the case of interesterified shortening. Dr. Ban recommended that liquid oils or interesterified shortening always be treated with the right antioxidants as soon as they are manufactured. Kemin has a portfolio of both antioxidants and plant extracts to help control oxidation.

“Antioxidants need to be added while the oils and shortenings are still fresh,” she said. “It’s also good practice to add antioxidants in bakery margarine as margarine has higher oxidative instability in general compared to shortenings.”

Synthetic antioxidants have long been a solution to delaying fat oxidation in these ingredients; however, more consumers are demanding label-friendly solutions. Raw materials for the ingredients can be a place to start.

“At Cargill, we use the highest quality raw materials and inputs in our plants, which helps ensure that our products deliver the expected shelf life in applications,” said John Satumba, PhD, global bakery technical lead and region R&D director for North America, global edible oil solutions, Cargill.

But natural antioxidants, too, are often on the table for solving the rancidity problem.

“Synthetic antioxidants have been utilized in the industry for years to extend shelf life; however, we have seen increased demand from bakers for more natural alternatives,” he continued. “Working closely with our suppliers, we have developed proprietary natural antioxidant solutions that meet bakers’ needs for extended shelf life.”

This article is an excerpt from the August 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fats & Oils, click here.