Bakers Journal

Final Proof: Fat replacers in calorie reduction

September 11, 2020
By Jane Dummer

What’s new in fat alternatives for baking applications. Get the skinny on EPG and clean label ingredients.

Things have improved since the days of Olestra. Photo courtesy of Ulrick & Short.

Consumer’s interest in health and wellness has resulted in bakers addressing calorie reduction. Fat is a key ingredient; it’s necessary for product developers to understand their current formulation and the functionality of the specific fat in the recipe. It is finding the balance between how much can be changed while still maintaining quality.

There have been vast improvements for fat alternatives and replacers since the days of olestra (which none of us in the food industry want to recall). New to the market is EPG (esterified propoxylated glycerol). It is a modified plant-based oil, from the rapeseed plant. Sarah Malenich, Senior Director of Marketing, Epogee LLC, explains “EPG is a solid, alternative fat, that tastes and functions like traditional fat. But because EPG is not broken-down during digestion, the fat calories are not absorbed by the body. That is how we’re able to reduce caloric intake by up to 45 per cent or more per serving, depending on the formulation. The reason EPG works is, the propoxyl link resists digestive enzyme action, thereby controlling caloric release through the key part of digestion, while allowing later breakdown in the environment. Instead of delivering the usual 9 calories/gram of fat, EPG only delivers 0.7 calories/gram.”

EPG is a fat alternative that resembles a triglyceride in structure and it does not block absorption nor deplete key nutrients from foods, therefore offering calorie reduction while maintaining the nutrition profile. For the baking industry Malenich describes, “EPG is a highly heat stable alternative fat. Because of its physical composition and unique manufacturing process, it can withstand exposure to heat from processes like baking and/or frying without degradation. During the manufacturing process EPG is heated to 260°C (~500°F) for an extended period so heat stability is a part of the technology. Because EPG is made from fat, it still functions as a fat from a taste, texture, and aroma standpoint. EPG is considered clean label and performs in a wide variety of baking applications from cookies and cakes to laminate doughs and even frying for donuts.”

Consumers continue to trend towards natural and unprocessed ingredients. The marketing term “clean label” has become extremely popular. Ingredient suppliers formulate for “clean label” using ingredients without binders, enhancers and preservatives. Robert Lambert, head of marketing & communications, Ulrick & Short, explains, “Calorie reduction is a consumer trend that will only continue with the global obesity epidemic. Healthier, lower calorie products are being demanded by consumers and government bodies alike. Consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before, and factors such as health, sustainability, and ethics are part of consumer purchasing decisions.”

Lambert identifies, “Ulrick & Short fat replacement range is clean label, meaning our ingredients neither contain, nor have been processed with any chemicals, additives, or e-numbers, and has a consumer-friendly back of pack declaration. They are fat mimetic, replacing the functional properties of fat in terms of volume, mouthfeel, moisture retention, and binding, all while ensuring eating quality is maintained. Many of our delyte™ products are based on tapioca. Tapioca starch granules are smoother and more rounded when compared to other base crops, making it an ideal ingredient to provide indulgence and mouthfeel in a range of applications. delyte 10 is wheat-based and is a recent addition to our fat replacement range. It has been developed to reduce up to 25 per cent of fat in pastry, while maintaining colour, texture, bite, and flavour.”

There is no one solution when it comes to reformulating for calorie reduction. Fats have different functionalities depending on the source of fat, and what the final application is. Therefore, understanding the function of fat in all applications, and how it reacts through different baking processes, is essential.

Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America.

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