Baking & Snack - June 2018 - 53
High-performance oils, interesterification and blending become the second
act in formulators' quest for partially hydrogenated oil replacements.
by Charlotte Atchley
Bakers have been trying to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) long before the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) decided these fats were no
longer safe for human consumption. "In 2003, bakery
manufacturers started drastically reducing partially
hydrogenated oils in their products due to increased
awareness about the potential health risks associated
with trans fats," said Jim Robertson, director, emulsifier
But FDA's announcement three years ago to revoke
the GRAS status of PHOs kicked the replacements into
high gear. PHOs, with their flexible melting points and
stability, offered a wide range of functionality with
little negative impact on taste and texture. That has
been difficult to replace. "While many PHO alternatives have proven to be effective, they have not come
without recognizable challenges," Mr. Robertson said.
Palm presents challenges in flavor and color reversion, crystallization as well as sustainability concerns.
Polyunsaturated oils have an effect on oxidative stability, color and flavor. Fully saturated oils lack functional
properties that make them cold-water dispersible without unsaturated fat components.
"When replacing the PHOs, the alternatives have to
function the same in the products - the same texture,
taste and shelf life - so a lot of improvements are made
on an ongoing basis," said Harold Kazier, senior research
and development manager, Bunge Loders Croklaan.
Evolution of alternatives
The removal of PHOs from the food supply has been a
long time coming. In 2006, FDA required that trans fats
be included in the Nutrition Facts Panel. "This served as
the true catalyst of change from PHO to trans-free options to where we are today," said Roger Daniels, vicepresident of research, development and innovation,
Stratas Foods LLC.
The initial wave of alternatives sought to reduce trans
fats and included solutions based in PHOs, palm and
physical blends of shortening, margarine and oils. When
FDA announced it would be revoking the GRAS status
of PHOs, solutions had grown to include not only palm
and blends but also enzymatic interesterified solutions.
Today, bakers need shortening and oils that provide the
same functionality of PHOs without the versatile-butbanned oils. "Ingredient suppliers met and are meeting
this need with a merger of tried-and-true oils, new oils
and process innovations," Mr. Daniels said.
Replacing PHOs has been an intensive process. They have
wide ranges of plasticity and temperature tolerances. Bakers
had a lot of room for error when working with them whereas most alternatives do not boast such flexible ranges.
A frying oil will impart its
taste attributes onto finished
donuts, so flavor is a critical
consideration in choosing
PHO-free oils for frying.
www.bakingandsnack.com / June 2018 Baking & Snack 53