Bunge: Our PhytoBake ingredient adds nutritionally beneficial phytosterols to bakery, and it can also delay staling in microwave pizza – who knew?

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

It's been out of the microwave how long? But it isn't stale!
It's been out of the microwave how long? But it isn't stale!

Related tags: Saturated fat

Bunge’s award-winning functional shortening has allowed manufacturers of bakery products to boost the nutritional profile of formulations, but a surprise discovery has led to a new application: Microwave pizza.

At the IFT Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago the company was showcasing some of its recently launched ingredient solutions, including its functional shortening, PhytoBake, to boost health benefits in formulations.

Talking with FoodNavigator-USA, Dilip Nakhasi, director of innovation for Bunge Oils, explained that the ingredient, a proprietary vegetable-based plastic shortening, was originally designed to replace traditional shortening saturates with phytosterols.

While the ingredient has been around for a couple of years (it was a winner of the IFT Innovation Awards in 2010), Nakhasi said the company “stumbled”​ on new functionality: It can prevent staling in microwave pizza. Normally, microwave pizza will begin to stale after 10 minutes of cooling, he said, but incorporating the phytosterols leads to better moisture retention, and delays staling.

“Thirty to forty minutes after cooking there is still no staling,” ​he said.

Nakhasi confirmed that this is currently used in commercial microwave pizzas in the marketplace.

‘Saturate sparing’

Bunge, which has been at the cutting edge of developments in saturated fat reduction, made a major breakthrough recently with the launch of high oleic, zero trans-fat bakery shortenings (#172 and #358) under its UltraBlends brand containing less than 19% saturated fat (that’s 40% less than standard reduced trans-fat shortenings and 60% less than traditional shortenings), said Nakhasi.

The ingredient contains cellulose fiber, which have not been used in fat systems previously, he added. These fibers create a network or cage that holds 85% of the oil. When used in the shortening form, the crystals are stable. Above 85° the product gets softer but there is not visible oil leakage.

The company has shown that they can reduce saturates to about 15%, but these require modifications to the formulations. At 19% the ingredients can be just dropped in as a replacement for your traditional shortening, he said.

The original version was launched at the IFT in 2012, with a new version to be launched at IBIE 2013 in Las Vegas in October, said Nakhasi.

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