Cargill Refined Oils Europe has launched a new range of frying oils designed to help food makers cut levels of trans fatty acids (TFA) and saturated fatty acids (SFA).
The range, marketed under the brand name Dufry, targets growing consumer concern and regulatory interest in the fat content of food products.
"Across the EU in general, there is growing awareness of the importance of healthy food," said Aart Mateboer, marketing manager for new product development at Cargill.
"Driven by the general consumer trend towards healthier diet options, fast-food chains and retailers are setting limits for trans fatty acid and saturated fatty acids levels in their fried products."
Such concerns have opened up the market to new 'healthier' ingredients. Earlier this week, the UK's Food and Drink Federation claimed that over £1.5billion worth of food products are being reformulated in order to eliminate harmful trans fats.
Cargill believes that its Dufry range of oils can help food makers tap this trend.
Mateboer told FoodNavigator that the new range of oils, especially designed for the par frying industry, offers a reduction in SFA levels of up to 70 per cent compared to existing palm fat based products, and TFA levels below 2 per cent.
Special crystallisation-promoting fat crystals are used to encourage the fat crystallisation process required in par frying application. The Dufry product range comprises five products, with a saturated fatty acid (SFA) level ranging from 30 to 15 per cent.
"To meet these new market demands is a big challenge for our customers," said Cargill Refined Oils Europe technical account manager Gaetan Heynderickx.
"But we have been able to develop a range of products based on carefully selected blends of oils and fats resulting in low levels of SFA and TFA while maintaining properties like stability, crystallisation, odour and taste."
Mateboer added that the development of the new range was made possible because of the size of Cargill, a major global supplier of oils that operates its own supply chain.
"We've also conducted extensive research with the University of Wageningen, who confirmed out findings during extensive frying tests."
Trans fats, which are mainly found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, common ingredients in thousands of food products, have been negatively linked to raising blood cholesterol levels and promoting heart disease.
Research shows that when too much 'bad' cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain resulting in atherosclerosis.
There has been growing pressure for the whole of Europe to follow Denmark's example and force food makers to clearly label the presence of trans fats. The UK Food Standards Agency for example is now pressing for revision of the European directive that governs the content and format of nutrition labels on foods marketed in the United Kingdom and other European countries, so that these fats are labelled.