Palm Oil in Food
Palm oil is one of the most popular ingredients in food products. It can be found in margarines, vegetable ghee, shortening, soap noodles, chocolate products, non-dairy ice-cream, and non-dairy creamer.
Palm oil and palm kernel oil are ideal raw materials in the making of specialty fats, to be used in chocolate products. They have excellent physio-chemical properties; resistance to fat bloom, which allows product to look shiny and attractive, bland in flavour, which does not affect chocolate-flavoured end products), and high melting properties, which is important in hot climates.
Palm oil and palm stearin have a very high stability of the beta prime (β’) form, the desired crystal form in shortening. This increases plasticity. β’ also immobilises a large amount of the liquid oil, which if free, would make the product soggy.
As the natural state of palm oil is semi-solid, it requires no hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is not only costly but also produces trans fatty acids and isomers, which pose a health risk.
Palm oil also contains a balanced composition of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. This composition confers a natural stability to the oil and allows formulations to be customised for different types of shortenings.
Ready-made or commercial cheesecakes may contain palm oil among other things, which do not interfere with intended flavour yet provides the moistness in these rich desserts. The cookie base usually contains palm-based margarine as well as shortening.
Non Dairy Ice-cream & Non Dairy Creamer
Palm-based fats are used in both formulations to replace milk fats. Palm-based fats melt easily when consumed, giving a nice melt-in-the-mouth effect. They are also perfect for lactose intolerant consumers. Adding to these advantages are the nutritive value of palm-based fats, the oxidative stability, and cholesterol-free characteristics.
(ice-cream: Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net)