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Dow launches Wellence Fat Free at IFT to help meet returning demand for low-fat claims

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

Related tags Restaurant Nutrition

Low-fat and fat-reduction claims may be on the upswing again soon as consumer confusion mounts around whether fat really is back and their desire for healthier options increases, according to a marketing manager for Dow Food Solutions. 

“Fat reduction is one of those trends that comes and goes with the ebb and flow of food trends, but it is starting to come back into play, as is calorie reduction,”​ explained Chris Spontelli, marketing manager for Dow Food Solutions.

He attributed consumers’ returning interest in fat-reduction claims in part to sticker shock as some restaurants start labeling calories on menus ahead of a Spring 2017 deadline to comply with FDA’s final rule mandating such labeling​. He also noted that many chefs and restaurants are looking for ways to cut fat and calories so that the numbers on menus do not discourage consumers.

To help food service and retail packaged food manufacturers prepare for and meet this emerging consumer demand, Spontelli noted that Dow Food Solutions will launch at IFT show in Chicago July 17-19 Wellence Fat Reduction.

Wellence FR “is one of those processes we can use behind the scenes to help reduce fat and calories without sacrificing flavor or texture,”​ he explained.

Wellence FR is a slight variance on the company’s existing Wellence family of plant-based food ingredients that blend cellulose derivatives Hydroxy Propyl Methyl Cellulose or Methyl Cellulose and can be used in coating systems to block the uptake of oil in the frying process by up to 35%, which allows companies to cross the 30% reduction threshold necessary for fat reduction claims on packaging.

Taste tested

Spontelli added that companies worried about consumers being turned off by fat-reduction claims can continue to use a stealth health approach, or they can explain to consumers that the reformulated product still has the same taste and crunch – a claim that Dow can support with consumer research.

The company did side by side comparison taste tests of lower fat foods made with Wellence and their full-fat original counterparts and found that consumers either did not notice the difference or preferred the taste and texture of the lower-fat Wellence product, Spontelli said.

He also argued that manufacturers scared of adding a “chemical-sounding”​ ingredient to their deck at a time when consumers increasingly want simple, recognizable ingredients that they would find in their kitchen need not worry because he says consumers  increasingly are accepting cellulose as a familiar plant-based ingredient.

The ingredient also can help with moisture retention during frying and extended hold time under heat, improve coating retention, reduce coating blow off during frying to reduce the rate of frying oil degradation and reduce acrylamide, according to the company.

Another bonus is the ingredient requires little or no changes in the manufacturing process to achieve these results, the company notes.

A gluten-free counterpart

The ingredient also appeals to consumers are looking for gluten-free options as the Wellence line also includes applications for gluten-free bakery products.

Wellence Free gives bakery products, such as muffins and cakes, a soft crumb, improved volume and enduring moistness, according to the company.  It also provides surface activity that stabilizes foams and improves aeration of batters during mixing for a higher lift. 

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