Land O'Lakes launches trans fat-free cheese ingredients

By Chris Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Trans fats, Nutrition

Dairy ingredients group Land O'Lakes has reformulated some of its
best-selling cheese powders to remove the trans fats.

The Cheddease range of cheese powders have been reformulated by Land O'Lakes Ingredient Solutions to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which can cause trans fats. The company said that it had replaced PHOs with high oleic canola oil, as its "clean taste and mouthfeel are compatible with the organoleptic qualities of dairy ingredients".​ Land O'Lakes said that its own research had shown that high oleic canola oil was also widely perceived as a healthy oil by consumers. It contains just seven per cent saturated fat, the lowest among common vegetable oils, the company said. This is the latest in a line of Land O'Lakes dairy-based ingredients to move to trans fat-free status. The company also offers trans fat-free dried cheeses such as Parmesan and Romano, dairy powders such as butter and sour cream, and seasoning blends. American consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the potential health risks related to trans fats following a raft of studies warning of high cholesterol levels leading to potential heart diseases. A survey by the American Heart Association in 2007 showed that consumers are increasingly buying products that are marked trans fat free because of this awareness of the health risks, and that 92 per cent of those questioned knew that trans fats were potentially dangerous to health. Indeed, the threat from trans fats is considered to be so great by some authorities that they have been banned outright - restaurants in New York City, for example, have until July to cut them out of all food served there. For food manufacturers looking to avoid potential downturns in sales caused by trans fats, ingredients that are guaranteed trans fat-free are therefore likely to be extremely popular - not to mention profitable. A study carried out last year by the United Soybean Board showed that US consumers are willing to spend more on foods that they consider to be healthier. Around 60 per cent of consumers questioned for the poll said they would be happy spending more on healthier foods - the first time since 2002 that the majority of shoppers said that they would dig deeper into their pocket books to shop healthily. Other recent surveys have also found that consumers are more willing to pay a premium to switch from trans fats to healthy fats, or to get added nutritional value from their foods as awareness spreads on the benefits of a better lifestyle. The USB study also showed that most respondents would like the products they already enjoy to be made healthier - two thirds of participants indicated they would be more likely to purchase these products if they were reformulated with zero trans fat. In addition, half of the respondents said they would be unlikely to purchase foods with trans fats listed on the label.

Related topics: Fats & oils

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