Cognis launches low trans-fat emulsifier

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Trans fatty acids Nutrition

Cognis has launched a new emulsifier with low trans-fat content to
help food makers conform with consumer health demands.

Nutrisoft 55, which can be used in ice cream, bread and mousse desserts, can replace saturated standard emulsifiers while "also increasing the stability and quality of prepared foods" .

There has been an inexorable move towards wellness and health.

Consumers are far more aware about the amount of fat in their food, and trans-fats is an issue that has increasingly been hitting the headlines of late.

The UK's Institute of Food Science & Technology recently published an updated information statement on trans fatty acids, which are present in partly hydrogenated fats as well as in animal fats (including milk fat and dairy products).

The publication confirms the growing scientific consensus that trans fatty acids (TFAs) are unhealthy and is likely to put further pressure on the food industry to cut out trans fats wherever possible.

"Trans fatty acids, like saturated fatty acids (SFA), raise LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)," said the IFST.

"IFST supports the WHO recommendations and subsequent recommendations from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and authorities elsewhere, that manufacturers should reduce the levels of TFA arising from hydrogenation; and notes the progress that industry has made in that direction."

It is this trend that Cognis hopes to tap with Nutrisoft 55, a distilled monoglyceride based on partly unsaturated vegetable fat that contains less than one per cent trans-fats.

"As well as offering excellent health benefits, the emulsifier also enhances the quality and appearance of food," said the company in a release.

"When used in bread or yeast-raised products, for example, it interacts with the starch to improve crumb softness and increase bread volume - both of which significantly enhance the products' overall appearance, making them more attractive to consumers."

Cognis also claims that Nutrisoft 55 can stabilise the helical structure of starch.

This slows down the staling process, and increases the shelf-life of bread.

"In ready-to-eat (RTE) mousse desserts, the emulsifier makes for a more stable texture and structure, and increases the product's volume," said the company.

"To achieve optimum results, Nutrisoft 55 should be used in conjunction with an aerating emulsifier, such as LACTEM (lactic ester of mono- and diglycerides, E472b)."

For ice cream, highly unsaturated emulsifiers give the best results for extrusion and heat-shock stability.

However, such emulsifiers have an iodine value of 40 or higher which makes them viscous and sticky, therefore difficult to incorporate into the ice cream mix and not practical for ice cream manufacturing.

"In contrast, Nutrisoft 55 has an iodine value of about 25, and is supplied as an easy-to-handle free-flowing powder - yet still provides superb extrusion and heat-shock stability in ice cream," said Cognis.

Cognis, a worldwide supplier of specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients, is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences.

In 2005, Cognis recorded sales of €3.18 billion and an Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and exceptional items) of €356 million.

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