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 fatty acids are 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.
As a result food makers in Europe and the US are looking to slice the trans fats from their food formulations, and are consequently on a continual hunt for alternative ingredients.
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. And in the US, from January 2006 new laws dictate that trans fats will have to be clarified on food labels.
BakeMark UK this week announced the launch of a non-hydro alternative to its cake margarine Marvello.
Non-Hydro Marvello, from the Craigmillar Premium Plus bakery fats range, is made solely with non-hydrogenated blends of vegetable oil, "and will allow bakers to serve a healthier choice of cakes to its customers," said the firm.
The product, like its hydrogenated counterpart, offers a "smooth, butter-like flavour and colour", they add.
"We anticipate a high take up particularly from larger cake manufacturers, looking to present not only healthier content in their product but also a clearer labelling statement," says Kerrie Medlicott, BakeMark UK's head of marketing.
Over 400 products at Bakemark UK, including the brands Readi-Bake, Caravan Brill and Arkady, are due to see their recipes amended to slice out the artery-clogging trans fats from their formulations by the end of 2005.