Cargill develops palm oil shortening for bakery performance

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06 Feb 2019 --- Cargill has launched a new palm shortening line, specifically for bakery. PalmAgility is positioned as a superior-performing, easy-to-use palm shortening for use in pies, donuts, cookies and crème fillings.

“Bakery customers face a variety of challenges with standard palm shortenings from transportation to storage to performance. PalmAgility’s virtue is that it is a single solution that helps address these multiple bakery performance needs,” John Satumba, R&D Director for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North America, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Click to EnlargePalmAgility reduces brittleness across a wider range of temperatures, allowing customers to store it easily without sacrificing workability or texture.“A common concern from customers is how palm-based alternatives react to changes in temperature due to transportation or storage. PalmAgility reduces brittleness across a wider range of temperatures, allowing customers to store it easily without sacrificing workability or texture. It helps customers manage a variable that can be outside their control,” he adds.

Cargill’s team, which includes more than 1,500 food scientists, developed the proprietary PalmAgility formulation, which was then tested for performance in pies, donuts, cookies and crème fillings at the company’s state-of-the-art Food Innovation Center in Minneapolis.

PalmAgility’s smoother and creamier texture than standard palm oil shortenings aids in faster mixing time and better incorporation of ingredients, both of which are easier on baking equipment. A faster crystallization rate also helps to increase control, and reduce the spread, of fillings.

Palm oil shortening has become one of the preferred replacement products for bakery producers given US regulatory restrictions on the use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in food, which came into force in mid-2018. Bakery producers have been searching for shortening solutions without PHOs that can mimic previously provided performance aspects.

The new shortening will initially be available in four product lines:
• PalmAgility 204 All-Purpose Shortening: an all-around high performing bakery product which works well in a variety of applications including cookies and pies;
• PalmAgility 204 Filling Fat Shortening: specifically formulated for crème fillings for sandwich cookies; and
• PalmAgility 213 and 217 Donut Frying Shortenings: which offers a faster set up on the donut surface and reduced oil weeping over 24 hours compared to standard palm-based donut fry shortenings.

 The ingredient will be simply labeled as “palm oil” in the US.

“Increasingly, bakery producers want customized solutions that address their specific challenges such as temperature tolerance or melting point,” says Satumba. “We’ll continue our research and development efforts to expand our PalmAgility line to better meet those needs.”

Click to EnlargeJohn Satumba, R&D Director for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North AmericaFew ingredients come under pressure for alternatives as much as palm oil, which is regularly linked to deforestation and is highlighted by NGOs as ripe for replacement.

This market dynamic has led to a strong rise in products claiming to be “palm oil free,” with a 73 percent CAGR reported from 2015 to 2017 by Innova Market Insights. In terms of the top global market categories as a percentage of new food & beverage launches with a palm oil free claim in 2017, bakery (55 percent), spreads (7 percent) and cereals (5 percent) dominated.

But Satumba stresses that a key role for palm oil remains. “What we hear from our customers is that consumers want the same experience when enjoying bakery products. So we work with customers to design customized solutions that best fit their needs and the desires of their consumers in areas such as sustainability, nutritional profile and regulatory environment,” says Satumba.

He points out how Cargill introduced an updated palm oil policy in July 2014, committing to sustainable, deforestation-free, socially responsible palm oil. In the same period, the company joined The Forest Trust (TFT), a non-profit organization that helps companies deliver products responsibly. 

TFT is supporting their supply chain mapping and the implementation of our new palm oil policy. Cargill also signed the Indonesian Palm Oil pledge at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.  

Ingredient innovation will be key to maintaining palm oil relevance on the label, he points out. 

“Palm oil shortenings have been a key replacement product for bakers in countries with regulatory restrictions on PHOs in food. But, bakery producers have found it challenging to identify a palm-based alternative shortening that can mimic performance aspects, such as smoothness and creaminess which PHOs delivered. PalmAgility is smoother and creamier than standard palm oil shortenings which can aid in faster mixing times and better incorporation of ingredients,” he concludes.

By Robin Wyers

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