When addressing oils shortages by replacing or reducing high-oleic or palm oil, bakers will need to reformulate their products to some degree to accommodate the solution. At the very least, bakers will need to test the solution to see if it will work in a formulation. Bakers will need to work closely with their fats and oils suppliers to ensure they are gaining the same functionality and taste with the new ingredients. 

“Bakers may be willing to give on some functionality or make minimal temporary changes to processing if the substitution is temporary,” said Jackie Steffey, senior customer innovation manager, AAK USA. “But if the substitution performs identically to the original formulation, bakers may decide to make the change permanent based on the outlook of various fats and oils in the future.” 

When dealing with reformulating solutions, communication is critical between baker and supplier. As David Bezenyei, sales manager, Columbus Vegetable Oils pointed out, these things take time. 

“There is not a one solution fits all,” he said. “Communication regarding the application and what product or products are currently being used is hugely important.” 

Roger Daniels, vice president, research, development, innovation and quality at Stratas Foods, noted that when approaching reformulation, bakers need to consider how the new formulation will perform in the bakery, through distribution and at the customer or consumer level. 

“When it comes to the bakery, you have to think through the bakery shortening handling process and how it needs to perform during product blending, mixing, proofing, baking, cooling, packaging and even post-process storage steps,” he explained. “During distribution, consider the impact of shelf life in terms of product qualities like taste, quality, color and texture. At the customer and consumer level, think about their needs. Does the reformulated product deliver on taste, quality, convenience and nutrition?” 

The label must also be considered. David Johnson, PhD, product director of food protection, Kalsec, pointed out that as bakers pivot to new oil ingredients, they need to consider if the nutritional information, ingredient list or even shelf life will change. 

Navigating the current storm of war, weather and inflation requires bakers and suppliers to be extremely nimble. 

“The supply chain is stressed across all industries, so the best way to get what you need is to be aware, think ahead and be flexible,” Mr. Daniels said. 

Mr. Bezenyei echoed the sentiment about thinking ahead: “Supply chain issues are unforeseeable sometimes. Bakers are experiencing longer lead times and should be planning ahead as much as possible.”

The canola crop for 2022 is looking promising as well as the soybean crop, which show promise that supply challenges will ease. But as Richard Galloway, oils expert for U.S. Soy, pointed out, bakers should be planning ahead to ensure that the ingredient supply they will need in the future is being planted today. 

“Talk to your suppliers about the type of ingredient you actually need, not just what they have available now,” he said. “If you really need intersterified soybean shortening for your product, but it isn’t in adequate supply now, you have to commit today so they can commit to having adequate supply in the future.” 

When first-choice fats and oils solutions are unavailable or difficult to source, bakers can work side-by-side with suppliers to find the right solutions, whether they are temporary or even permanent.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fats & Oils, click here.