Palm Oil: a Versatile and Cost-Effective Alternative to Trans Fat

Palm oil is a naturally stable, functional and versatile fat that can be used in almost any food application without the need for hydrogenation. It can be used as a drop-in solution for almost any currently available partially hydrogenated product by blending various palm oil fractions to create the desired physical characteristics. The key to the excellent functionality of palm oil products is the presence of palmitic acid, the main saturated fat in this product. Palmitic acid forms highly stable beta-prime crystals that impart a smooth, creamy texture to any product.
Palm oil also is a healthier option in food products than partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. In the past, saturates were criticized as being the least healthy fat, but recent science has confirmed that trans fat is significantly worse than saturates for keeping the heart healthy. Non-hydrogenated, liquid vegetable oils remain the healthiest choice, but often cannot be used in many baked goods because they lack the functionality of solid fats such as palm oil.
Since palm oil is a globally traded commodity oil, equal in world production to soybean oil, it is, in most cases, cost-neutral to partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Loders Croklaan offers about 30 different trans fat-free, non-hydrogenated palm products and is supported by its parent company, IOI, one of the largest privately held palm oil producers in Malaysia. 1-800-621-4710.

Citri-Fi Meets Your Functional Ingredient Needs
Citri-Fi, a new ingredient from Willmar, Minn.-based Fiberstar, Inc., is derived from citrus pulp, and is able to tightly bind high amounts of water and oil over an extended period of time. Citri-Fi’s unique functionality, plus its smooth mouthfeel, enables the ingredient to be used to improve freshness and nutrition in a wide range of food products without imparting gumminess.
“[Citri-Fi] is a unique functional ingredient because of its high water-holding capacity and ability to tightly bind water and oil over an extended period of time,” says Brock Lundberg, vice president of technology for the company.
“Citri-Fi does not require shear to hydrate,” Lundberg adds. “When looking to improve product quality or nutrition, Citri-Fi can serve multiple roles.”
When hydrated, Citri-Fi also can be used to replace up to 50% of oil or shortening on a one-for-one basis without compromising taste or cost as compared to a full-fat version. Although additional water is typically added to a formula when Citri-Fi is added, the water activity level does not generally increase because the added water is bound so tightly.
An added benefit to clients is the ingredient’s cost reduction, since Citri-Fi’s bowl cost is as low as 25 cents per pound — less than the price of most edible oils, shortenings or other more expensive ingredients that it replaces.
Fiberstar recently completed application work for Citri-Fi’s use as a fat replacer or for oil/water management in various applications.  
For additional information on Fiberstar and Citri-Fi, please call 1-715-273-3194.