Using starches, vegetable waxes and emulsions, Cargill says its scientists have created fat systems that lower saturated fat by as much as 40 percent in shortenings, without compromising the final product.
“This research demonstrates a significant leap forward in our understanding of the structure and function of fats throughout the bakery process,” says Serpil Metin, principal scientist, Cargill. “With that knowledge, we are working to unlock new low-fat and reduced-saturated-fat solutions that meet the needs of bakeries and help address the health concerns of consumers.”
Cargill researchers presented three approaches to reducing saturated fat in bakery applications this week during the American Oil Chemists’ Society annual meeting.
In one method, Cargill researchers replaced some of the traditional saturated fat with a blend of canola oil, a product lower in saturated fat, and starch. Using particle stabilization technology combined with fat crystal optimization, the researchers created a structured fat system that reduced saturated fat levels by 40 percent compared to the same source fat without sacrificing key performance characteristics. In addition, depending on the reduced-saturated-fat levels, the resulting functional bakery shortenings had fewer total fat and calories.
Vegetable Waxes and Monoglycerides
In a separate study, Cargill researchers focused on controlling how fat solidifies. As fat cools, it forms crystals. The researchers found that by combining vegetable waxes and monoglycerides with canola oil and palm stearin, they could influence the size, shape and speed at which those crystals form. The resulting fat system lowered saturated fat levels, while maintaining critical fat structures.
A final approach explored using emulsions to dilute saturated fat levels. While water and fat naturally separate, Cargill researchers devised a method of encasing water droplets in shells made of monoglycerides and hard fats.
The researchers were able to create fat systems that reduced saturated fat levels by 40 percent, yet still provided performance comparable, and in some cases superior, to that of commercial shortenings.
“While we’re still several years away from introducing commercial products based on this research, each of these approaches offers a promising avenue toward achieving high performance, lower saturated fat bakery products,” says Bob Wainwright, innovation lead, Cargill.