Fat reduction in the spotlight – the race against trans fat


21 Aug 2017 --- Many food manufacturers would say that the top priorities for the food industry are salt, sugar and fat reduction. For many years now the unrelenting advice has been to cut out the so-called “bad” saturated fats, which, in turn, has had an impact on many categories across the food industry. 

The issue of fat and fat content has been widely criticized for decades, leading to major changes in regulations relating to trans fat such as the complete removal of processed foods. As the upcoming June 18, 2018, date looms, when manufacturers must ensure their products no longer contain partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) for uses that have not been otherwise authorized by FDA.

PHOs are the major source of artificial trans fat in the food supply. They are the most often used source of fat in commercial baked goods because they don’t spoil as quickly as other fats and have a longer shelf-life. Artificial trans fat can be found in many of the same foods as saturated fat, such as baked goods, fried foods, frozen foods, snacks and various types of margarine. 

Overconsumption of trans fat raises the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. An elevated LDL cholesterol level in the blood increases your risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women in the US. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. 

As is often the case in the food industry, opinion surrounding certain ingredients can be conflicting. A recent example of this is coconut oil, which some claim boosts metabolism, the immune system and promotes a healthy heart. Coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Saturated fats not only increase the healthy cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) in the body but also help convert the LDL “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols. Around 91 percent of the fat in coconut oil is healthy saturated fat. 

In reality, the edible oil that is extracted from the kernel or meat of the mature coconut harvested from the coconut palm has high saturated fat content – it is slow to oxidize and promotes longer shelf life. The increase in the use of coconut oil could be more about consumer perception of health rather than the reality of the saturated fat content.

Palm oil is another example of a fat that has received some backlash. Palm kernel oil is derived from the seed or the kernel of the fruit. Palm kernel oil does not convey the same health benefits that red palm fruit oil does. The saturated fat content of red palm oil is 40-50 percent saturated, while palm kernel oil is about 81 percent saturated. Earlier this year claims rocked the food industry highlighting that excessive amounts of processed palm oil can lead to cancer. 

The move followed an opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stating that contaminants created when palm oil is refined are carcinogenic.

An EFSA study found that for everyone except babies, the main exposure comes from, pastries, cakes and margarine. Many brands of chocolate also contain refined palm oil.

Advice from public health bodies is still vague. The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that it was working with European partners to agree on suitable regulation, in light of the EFSA's findings. “We advise that consumers eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet to balance the risk,” an FSA spokesperson said.

Nestlé, who makes a number of products with refined palm oil, said the company takes the issue seriously and has funded scientific research into how the cancer-causing compounds form.

The US-based consumer lobby group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) claims that since palm oil is high in saturated fat and low in polyunsaturated fat it, it could promote heart diseases. However, CSPI classes palm oil as better than PHOs, but more harmful than liquid oils such as olive and canola.

Specialty oils and fats developer IOI Loders Croklaan markets its range of bakery applications with the message “Go No PHO” and positions itself as experts in offering bakery solutions from cookies to coatings, and pizza to pie, that help customers produce PHO-free baked goods without compromising on taste.

At IFT 2017, Loders Croklaan presented various applications of their Sanstrans ingredient, including a new puff pastry product with their Sanstrans Roll Rite Puff, which is free from trans fat. Speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst, Harold Kaizer of IOI Loders Croklaan says: “The trend has been towards the removal of trans fat, which will occur in June 2018. What we have done is converted much of our portfolio line to trans free shortenings. We deliver shortenings for different functionality and applications; whether bakery or confectionery.” Sanstrans Roll Rite Puff has been created to replace partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in this application. He noted that some of the challenges include that you need to create a product that has good flexibility, good machinability within the process. “Puff pastry is an application where you use the shortening to laminate the dough layers and the lamination shortening has to be spread thinly, so that you get the flaky appearance. It has to give you the consistency, so that you can build these layers and it gives you good height. These products are not waxy and don’t have a lot of palate cling,” he adds. 

You can read the second part of this report here

By Elizabeth Green

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Loders Croklaan


Innovation, sustainability, and going the extra mile are key strengths and have been a hallmark of IOI Loders Croklaan for generations. Our work began in the 1800s with two distinct companies: the Dutch Crok & Laan and the British Loders & Nucoline, both successful in vegetable oils and fats. Unilever acquired Crok & Laan in 1970 and merged it with its own subsidiary Loders & Nucoline, and Loders Croklaan was established. The company was sold in 2002 to the Malaysian IOI Group, active in palm oil plantations, oleo chemicals, real estate development, and downstream manufacturing.

Today, IOI Loders Croklaan focuses on palm oil lipid solutions and is renowned for technological breakthroughs. With state-of-the-art various processes such as fractionation, interesterification, emulsification, IOI Loders Croklaan is well positioned to deliver unique functionality and value to the end product. In 2010 we opened a state-of-the-art refinery in Rotterdam, which is the world’s first large-scale refinery to use the process of enzymatic interesterification.

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Dairy platforms: Arla Foods Ingredients eyes personalization and protein

22 Oct 2018 --- The dairy category has changed dramatically in the past decade, driven by the move towards personalization. In doing so it has become more and more sophisticated with a wider choice of products available for different needs. There are now dairy products tailored to a range of dietary and nutrition needs: high protein, high calcium and low lactose, to name just a few.

Food Ingredients News

US tackles food waste: New agreement to educate consumers and businesses

19 Oct 2018 --- As a week-long Committee on World Food Security (CFS) meeting comes to an end in Europe, the US government has announced a new food waste agreement aimed at improving communication across federal agencies attempting to better educate Americans on the importance of reducing food loss and waste. With mountains of work ahead to meet the US Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions initiative, which aims to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, the agreement signals a strengthening of food waste strategies to present economic opportunities and possible cost savings for businesses.

Food Ingredients News

Unsustainable agricultural warnings: Governments urged to tackle meat and dairy over-consumption

19 Oct 2018 --- Governments do not have policies in place to tackle the over-consumption of meat and dairy around the world, according to a new report from The Changing Markets Foundation. However, the report, Growing the Good: The Case for Low Carbon Transition in the Food Sector, points to the fact that government policies universally support unsustainable agricultural production systems dominated by intensive meat and dairy farmers and producers. At the same time, meat consumption is more than double the recommended level for healthy diets in the US and several EU countries.

Food Ingredients News

Weekly Roundup: Arla Foods UK unveils new farming standards model, Nestlé launches food waste initiative

19 Oct 2018 --- This week, sustainability has been high on the agenda. Arla Foods UK unveiled a new farming standards model to bring sustainable change to dairy farming in the country. Nestlé has helped to form a new platform to combat food waste in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the same week, the global leader announced plans to reduce salt and saturated fat in its iconic Maggi products in the UK and Ireland. Omya announced significant price increases for calcium carbonate products globally and Hershey completed the acquisition of Pirate Brands.

Food Ingredients News

Giants update on markets and portfolio transformations: Nestlé, Danone and Unilever deliver results

18 Oct 2018 --- Nestlé, Danone and Unilever all delivered their latest financials today with all three major companies reporting growth in fast-growing on-trend categories geared towards health and nutrition. The results come as large-scale multinationals explore ways to respond to a shift in consumer preferences toward fresh, healthy, organic and nutritious food and beverages by diversifying and expanding into growth categories.

More Articles