The market for clean-label foods is showing significant growth as consumers scour the shelves for products and ingredients that can meet their unique lifestyle and nutritional requirements.


This is great news for brands. Research now suggests that not only will consumers pay a premium for clean-label options, but it could influence brand loyalty in the long term as this new breed of ‘informed shopper’ continues to gravitate towards products that are naturally sourced, plant-based, and offer a healthier positioning.


The problem with hydrogenated food oils


With health and nutrition on the agenda for most food processors and manufacturers, the inclusion of food ingredients that contribute to the development of healthy, nutrient-rich products with great flavour, colour, and texture is critical, putting the use of ingredients such as hydrolysed cooking oils and trans-fats in the firing line.


There has been a question mark around the health and safety of these food processing aids for decades as they are typically manufactured through industrial processes by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, which enables it to solidify at room temperature1.


Hydrolysed cooking oils and trans-fats are often implicated in rising levels of high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease, but critically in the possible carcinogenic effect of acrylamide formation in cooked applications.


Although the term acrylamide was only formally adopted in 20022, it has long been regarded as a normal chemical reaction that occurs during cooking. Kept within range, the effect of acrylamide formation is negligible, but its effect is dramatically amplified during high-temperature cooking processes such as frying, roasting, and in ultra-processed high-starch products, including frozen fries and pizza, cakes, cookies, pies, microwave popcorn, and crisps.3


However, hydrogenated oils and trans-fat are extremely popular in the food processing industry. These products are often less expensive than naturally produced oils sourced from nuts, seeds, and plants, with great functionality, and a high smoke point, are less likely to spoil, and offer a long shelf life as opposed to other less processed food oils.4


With the science around the possible health implications of using hydrolysed cooking oil and trans fats growing, consumers are now looking to shift to products that offer a clean label position.


For the team at Kerfoot, this means we focus on offering naturally sourced oils from seeds, nuts, and plant-based sources that are cold pressed or minimally processed. In addition, we provide full provenance and traceability and, critically, strong, science-backed evidence on nutritional and dietary benefits.


Can the right oil lower risk?


The UK’s Food Standards Agency backs the assertion that using quality cold-pressed oils could lower acrylamide levels by allowing foods to cook quicker at lower heat5. In addition, new and impactful flavour blends and specialist oils could enable food processors to do away with frying altogether.


Dressing food with flavoursome and healthy oils, including Avocado, Chia, and Hemp, or our flavour blends with Lemon, Basil, and Truffle variants to name a few, will enable consumers to indulge their craving for great taste, but with a great nutritional boost!


Chia seeds for example are known for their high alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) content, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, while Hempseed Oil is another great alternative, high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. With a flavour profile similar to Sunflower oil, Hemp seed oil is ideal for blending with other oils to produce a milder flavour perfect for use in salad dressings and other cold dishes.


When it comes to frying, the benefits of using Avocado oil are undisputed – offering the highest smoking point of all plant-based cooking oils, coupled with high levels of antioxidants and good fatty acids. Grapeseed oil is another substitute. It features a high smoke point and is ideal for stir-frying and sautéing.


We support your journey to healthier cooking


At Kerfoot, we understand the pressure on food manufacturers to find new ways to boost shelf life and market share. Our team can offer you the support you need during your NPD planning, with our excellent research and development capability.


We are proud of our range of clean-label, high-grade specialist food oils and blends. Our products are naturally sourced and processed to keep most of their nutritional content intact. As your ingredient partner, we focus on accountability, traceability, and full provenance of our oils with no exceptions.


For more information on how our food oils can lift your clean label positioning, talk to our sales team today.



1,4. Mayo Clinic, Trans Fats is double trouble for health, September 2023

2. UK Flour Millers, Acrylamide, September 2023

3. FDA, Acrylamide Questions and Answers, September 2023

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