As the deadline for trans fats labeling approaches, confectionery manufacturer Wilbur last week launched a zero trans fat cinnamon drop.
The drop should help those in the bakery industry who want to avoid having to list trans fats on their products when the new food nutrition labels come into requirement on 1 January 2006.
"These zero gram trans-fat cinnamon drops are the first of several Wilbur confection compounds and coating products to be reformulated to meet the emerging FDA trans-fat labeling rule," said John Urbanski, Wilbur's vice president of technical sales.
Scott Johnson, Wilbur product development manager, explained that the drops have the added advantage of adding cinnamon flavor to breads without interfering with the leavening process.
Wilbur's cinnamon drop, when used in baking applications, either melts or holds its shape and remains visible as a chip. It was developed in collaboration with Wilbur's parent company, Cargill, using the latter's palm-oil expertise.
"Palm oil is often a very good candidate for many bakery applications," said Bob Wainwright, technical director of Cargill's dressings, sauces and oils North America business. "It is semi-solid at room temperature and, as a result, can convey body and structure without partial hydrogenation. Palm oil is very versatile, and its performance can be further enhanced through processing technologies that do not create trans fats."
He added that: "placing partially hydrogenated oil with a palm-based system in the cinnamon drops offers two major benefits. It eliminates the term "partially hydrogenated" from the ingredient legend, and there are no trans-fats resulting from hydrogenation."Wilbur said it now expects to expand its reformulation to its other compound drops and coatings such as butterscotch, chocolate flavor, white compound coatings and peanut butter drops.
Trans fatty acids (TFAs) are formed when liquid vegetable oils go through a chemical process called hydrogenation. Common in a range of food products - biscuits, chips, doughnuts, crackers - the hydrogenated vegetable fat is used by food processors because it is solid at room temperature and has a longer shelf life.
But research suggests that trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, causing the arteries to become more rigid and clogged. An increase in LDL cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease.