Health trends prevail in fats and oils sector

14 Sep 2020 — Fat and oil experts are responding to trends for healthier products with minimal processing and fewer chemicals as consumers don’t want to see labels packed with additives to extend shelf life. Consumers are closely monitoring the type and amount of fat and oil in their packaged products, and, as food becomes increasingly personalized, they are basing their purchasing decisions on specific ingredients. Moreover, the amount of fat and type of oil are important factors when determining which packaged foods to purchase.

From salad dressings to cakes, breads to chips and cereal bars, consumers demand a clean label but will not compromise on taste.

Artisanal claims 
Interestingly, artisanal-style claims are coming to the fore in fats and oils. This is partly connected to the rise of the storytelling trend – highlighted as Innova Market Insights’ Top Trend for 2020 – where brands use an authentic narrative to “win with words.” However, it also gives companies a chance to reference those low impact processing methods consumers are looking for. 

“Our Specialty Oil product group has seen a significant increase in demand for extra virgin oils vs fully refined oils. These are oils that are produced in an artisanal way of cold-pressing, with a simple filtration step before packing,” Mark Bolier, business unit manager for oils & fats at Tradin Organic, tells FoodIngredientsFirst

“Oils such as hemp, flax, pumpkin and our Sunvado Avocado oil, have an excellent natural taste profile that is protected in this way. Both the cosmetic ingredient industry as well as oil bottlers are more and more interested in these unprocessed, natural oils,” he says. 

In terms of storytelling within its oils and fats business, Tradin Organic is “very excited”  about the opportunities of Sunvado, the company’s organic avocado oil factory in Ethiopia. 

“The extra virgin oil we produce there is of excellent quality with a lot of market potential,” Bolier continues. 

“In addition, we are proud of the positive social impact the project is having on the local population and the many avocado farmers involved. Besides avocado oil, innovation wise we are working on projects in the area of organic plant-based sources of Omega 3 (as an alternative to rather than fish oil) and certified organic essential oils and aromas,” he explains.

Another great example of combining good storytelling with producing a sustainable product comes from Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC) which recently unveiled its first shea processing plant in Tema, Ghana, pegged as the largest of its kind in Africa.

The new facility is a fully automated solvent fractionation plant that processes raw shea butter made from locally collected and crushed shea nuts. Alongside this, the company is actively developing partnerships with local crushers, which in turn, increases the holistic gains for local women’s cooperative groups.

In food, shea – which is dubbed locally as coming from the “tree of life” – is primarily used for the confectionery and bakery industry with its most common use as an ingredient in cocoa butter equivalents (CBEs) used in chocolate products. It also performs well in bakery products such as puff pastry and cakes as well as other applications such as ice cream. 

“Shea is a vegetable oil that has a very similar fat composition to that of cocoa butter. It is very well suited for blending with other vegetable fats and oils like palm and cocoa butter and it has many functional properties that can be used in different food applications,” Dr. Hans Omvlee, Supply Chain & Trading Director at BLC, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“We currently employ 73 employees in our Ghana facility. An additional 14 employees are based in Burkina Faso. The majority of employees, including management, at our Ghana facility are experienced and skilled Ghanaians,” Dr. Omvlee remarks.

The opening of the new facility coincides with the launch of the specialty oils and fats supplier’s “Where Life Grows” campaign, which operates with the aim of a resilient and sustainable shea supply chain across Africa.

Its key objective is to empower shea-collecting women, create socio-economic value in their communities and conserve and regenerate the shea landscape in the region. 

Sixteen million women in Africa living in rural communities and their families depend on the shea industry to financially support their households and contribute to their communities.

According to Innova Market…

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