Trans Fatty AcidsandHydrogenated Vegetable Oils Industry Actions
Main suppliers to UK market All food sectors (from multinational and national food producers to cash-and-carry outlets), including foodservice, catering, quickservice restaurants and takeaways are covered by these suppliers (either directly or indirectly) Coverage of the UK market from these four suppliers is greater than 90% (including re-packers who buy from the main producers and re-pack in smaller containers) AAK imports Cargill IOI/Loders Croklaan The Netherlands ADM
Timeline 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007 UK margarine and spreads manufacturers begin to reduce trans levels Clinical nutritionists (Mensink and Katan) identify trans fatty acids as detrimental in terms of blood cholesterol Headlines in UK press about ‘killer fats’ BRC announce removal of HVOs by end of 2007 Food industry active in removing partially hydrogenated fats from manufactured foods Oils and fats processors begin to research and develop non-hydrogenated alternatives to trans-containing fats Process of phasing out partial hydrogenation essentially complete
How has this been achieved? • Biscuits, bakery, confectionery and spreads • Main fat functionality is to provide structure and solidity • Non-hydrogenated fats which can achieve this are based on palm oil, palm kernel oil to which, in some applications, rapeseed oil can be added (as well as sunflower oil and olive oil in spreads) • Frying • Main fat functionality is to provide oxidative stability • Oils such as high-oleic sunflower oil and palm oil fractions go a long way to achieving this as non-hydrogenated alternatives
Effect on saturates levels • In some applications (notably those where fats are used for structure) the (average) saturated fatty acid content has increased FEDIOL (European Oil Processors Federation) has a guideline that the level of saturates after reformulation should be no higher than the total saturates +trans in the original composition. Most applications show saturates increase well below this
Where do we stand now? • The use of hydrogenated vegetable oils (HVOs) has been eliminated in almost all mainstream food production in the UK • Some of the oils and fats processors have closed down their hydrogenation plants • Others still operate but predominantly for the production of fully hydrogenated oils (which contain <1% trans) for use in limited but very specific applications • There is little likelihood of a return to the use of partially hydrogenated oils but the use of fully hydrogenated oils could give the industry scope for further development and optimisation.