Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between Donald E. Pszczola | June 2012, Volume 66, No.6

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In October 2010, Bunge North America opened its Ingredient Innovations Center for Edible Oils and Carbohydrates in Bradley, Ill. This center combines the company’s food ingredient innovation and pilot plant facilities into one location. The primary focus of the center is to provide applications support for existing products and customers, with the staff working to develop innovative solutions to meet the customer’s next-generation needs for shortenings and oils. The center includes a scaled-down version of an actual edible oil plant capable of creating shortenings, oils, and other products used by food manufacturers, bakeries, and restaurants. The center also has an extrusion pilot plant to test snack food and cereal applications made from milled grain products. And now, according to Nakhasi, Bunge is in the process of adding a state-of-the-art culinary center to the facility. This project is currently under construction and anticipated to be ready for unveiling later this year. So expect to see (and perhaps taste) a variety of dishes made with the ingredient innovations discussed here.

Swimming with the Fishes
You won’t find this product in the sea, but a new canola innovation may provide the heart and brain health benefits that have been associated with oils produced from marine life, and as such, allow manufacturers the enticing use of qualified health claims. If so, then this oil—at least on a figurative level—may prove to swim with the best fishes as it provides a plant-based source of important long-chain omega-3s typically not found in canola oil, as well as a competitive alternative to fish oil products.

Described as a next-generation canola oil, it is being developed through a partnership (or, more precisely, a “canola collaboration”) between Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. (phone 952-742-9246, www.cargill.com), and BASF Plant Science. The product, which is expected to be available in the marketplace by 2020, will reportedly be rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids traditionally found in oils derived from fish and algal sources.

In their partnership to develop this new oil, Cargill’s food application capabilities and existing commercial relationships with major food manufacturers and foodservice operators are complemented with BASF’s expertise in genetically enhancing EPA/DHA levels in canola oil and deregulating it for use in food products. “The combination of BASF’s innovative technology and Cargill’s leading position in the global supply chain for canola oil will make EPA/DHA canola oil-based products broadly accessible to consumers globally,” said Marc Ehrhardt, Senior Vice President for BASF Plant Science.

The oil products generated by the alliance will address two key issues, shelf stability and cost—enabling food, pharmaceutical, and nutritional supplement manufacturers to deliver the potential health benefits of these omega-3 fatty acids to a variety of formulations.

“This partnership supports Cargill’s objective of providing the healthiest oils to our customers and consumers globally,” said Jenny Verner, President of Cargill Specialty Oils. She noted that this project builds on the company’s existing product portfolio and will further extend its ability to help customers deliver the benefits of omega-3s in food products. Over the past couple of years, in particular, Cargill has introduced a number of canola oil innovations.

For example, at the 2011 IFT Food Expo, the company launched Clear Valley® 80, a natural, high-oleic canola oil characterized by its high oxidative stability, low levels of saturated fat, and zero grams of trans fat per 14 g serving, superior oil functionality for processed foods, bland flavor, and extended storage and shelf life.

Unlike typical canola oil, which can develop off-notes when oxidized, high-oleic oils have natural resistance to oxidation without going through hydrogenation, fractionation, or other complex processing, noted Willie Loh, Vice President of Marketing, Cargill Oils & Shortenings. “With the highest level of oleic acid of all canola oils, and the highest level of oxidative stability among all high oleic oils on the market, Clear Valley 80 canola oil is by far one of the most stable vegetable oils currently available, eliminating common flavor and shelf-life challenges often associated with formulating with healthier fats,” said Loh.

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