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Bakemark UK steps up trans fat-free supplies

14-Jun-2005

Food makers in Europe looking to cut trans fats from their products find new alternatives as UK bakery ingredients manufacturer Bakemark UK steps up supplies for trans fat-free offerings, rolling out non-hydrogenated blends for its entire manufactured product range, writes Lindsey Partos.

 

Over 400 products, including the brands Readi-Bake, Caravan Brill and Arkady, will see their recipes amended to slice out the artery-clogging trans fats from their formulations by the end of 2005.

The move is a response to growing consumer, and stakeholder, concern about the role trans fatty acids may play in raising the risk of heart disease.

Though trace amounts of trans fats are found naturally, in dairy and meats, the vast majority are formed during the manufacture of processed foods.

Trans fats formed from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, that extend shelf life and flavour stability, have displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas of food processing.

But mounting evidence suggests they raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, causing the arteries to become more rigid and clogged. An increase in LDL cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease, the number one global killer.

While Europe has yet to introduce rules on the labelling of trans fats, mumblings at a national level herald a sincere debate, and possible new regulations, in the near future.

Taking the lead, last year Denmark became the first country in the world to ban trans fats from food products over fears these hydrogenated fats could contribute to heart disease. And in the US, incoming rules mean that by 1 January 2006 food manufacturers will have to label the trans fat content on the nutrition label of foodstuffs.

With the issue in the public and government domain, food makers are under increasing pressure to hunt for alternatives. According to Bakemark UK, the hydrogenated fats in its products have been replaced by a "careful selection of emulsifiers and oil blends, taken from nature or fractionated versions,".

The firm started to make changes to build in non-hydrogenated products last year, initially kicking off with cookie formulations.

And despite the "extensive demand in R&D", the firm tells FoodNavigator.com costs for clients will remain the same.

"We're not changing the price of the product ranges, same reference number and same price," comments Kerrie Hampson, BakeMark UK's head of marketing.

The programme was initiated with the introduction of low trans fats in the Craigmillar range, including Castle Non Hydro and Apollo Non Hydro, and the removal of hydrogenated fat from Flakit, Skyhigh, Crispuff and Perlova.

The firm has already introduced non-hydrogenated frying oils, and a non-hydrogenated Marvello cake margarine is due to be launched by the summer.

Bread and cake mixes, finger rolls, puff pastry, muffins, scone pucks, most doughnuts and some cookies are all now made using non-hydrogenated fat blends. The remaining cookies, doughnut crembels and additional product lines will all be switched by 31 December, confirmed the ingredients supplier.

But for clarification, the firm added that it will continue to buy in products which contain trans fats, but will not manufacture them.

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