Improved low trans fats target healthy baked goods, says ADM

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Trans fat

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has expanded its range of low trans
fats, which it claims will allow manufacturers of baked goods to
produce healthier formulations with good functionality.

The food-processing and agricultural-services giant, which launched its new products at last week's FiE exhibition in Paris, said they contain 0.5 percent trans fats while maintaining low saturated fat levels.

Pura Shortening Low Trans, targeted for use in cakes, creams and short pastry, is made of unhydrogenated vegetable oils. According to ADM Specialty Oils & Fats, it "offers good mouthfeel and flavor release while ensuring a shelf life of six months with maintained smooth texture and low oxidation levels."

Pura Cake Margarine 'E free' Low Trans, marketed as entirely free from emulsifiers, can be used in dough fats, savory and sweet short-crust pastry and creams.

According to research development manager Jo Bruce, one of the ingredients' major advantages is that they keep saturate levels down to 34 percent, compared to the 42 percent saturated fat content of many low trans fat alternatives.

This is achieved by increasing levels of 'good' fats- polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats- to 65.5 percent.

"We could even get saturated fat content down to 30 percent, but that would still be very expensive,"​ she said.

The ingredients also maintain smooth product structure for longer, especially when used in creams, said Bruce.

"This is difficult to achieve and is not being done successfully. Very often, if sugar and fat creams are badly formulated, they can go gritty as time goes on."

"Our fats can last for 12 weeks in a cream without deterioration in crystal structure or mouthfeel. That is up to 8 weeks longer than competitor products,"​ she said.

And because the fats distribute better, it is often possible to reduce overall fat content by around 5 percent, she added.

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.

As a result, the food industry is gradually slicing out their use as more consumers look for alternative products and in the US food manufacturers will have to label any TFA content from January 2006.

According to ADM Specialty Oils & Fats, the new additions to their low trans fats range are improved versions of previous ingredients.

"Our new products are healthier and better than our previous range. They allow manufacturers to achieve the same things as before, but with a clearer label,"​ said Bruce.

The company said it is already receiving very positive feedback from customers who have been testing the new products.

"Our business has picked up because people like these solutions, it gives us a competitive advantage. We wanted to improve the offerings we have available and that is what we have done,"​ concluded Bruce.

Related topics: R&D, Fats & oils

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