The subsidiary of baking ingredients firm CSM has already launched low trans-fat reformulations of some of its products, and aims to eliminate the fat group from all of its products by the end of 2005.
The company claims to be the first of its kind to eliminate trans fatty acids (TFAs) from its entire product range, maintaining that the decision comes in anticipation of a move by the industry as a whole away from trans-fat.
"Our proactive decision to invest in these developments has been supported by increasing customer requests for non-hydro products. We are confident, therefore, that this is the right move for both customers and consumers," said Kerrie Hampson, BakeMark UK's head of marketing.
"We saw this as an opportunity and although we have not made any forecasts, we hope it will lead to a 10 per cent increase in profit," she told BakeryAndSnacks.com.
There has been mounting evidence to suggest that TFAs 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.
Recent research in the US also suggests that TFAs can increase the risk of gallstone disease.
Non-hydrogenated products already introduced by BakeMark UK include frying oils, bread and cake mixes, doughnuts and cookies.
The non-hydrogenated version of its successful Marvello cake margarine is due to be launched in the next few months.
By the end of the year, the company's entire product range will have switched to no or low trans fat, with the exception of its Craigmillar bakery fats range. This will exist in two formulas- the regular, and the low trans fat, in order to allow customers to experiment with the ingredient in their products.
BakeMark UK claims to conduct extensive trials with its own finished non-hydro products.
"Once we are satisfied performance and quality are maintained, the new products are then tested by customers. As a result, we can be sure the non-hydrogenated products process, handle, store, bake and taste just as good as their counterparts," said Hampson.
BakeMark UK may be the first to conduct such a full-scale change in its product range, but food makers in general are now being increasingly encouraged by consumer groups and national governments to hunt for alternatives to TFAs: and new regulations are propelling them to do so.
In the US from 1 January 2006 food manufacturers will have to list trans fat on the nutrition label of all food products. Europe has yet to impose similar labelling rules, although in 2003 Denmark became the first country in the world to introduce restrictions.
Oils and fats are now forbidden on the Danish market if they contain trans fatty acids exceeding 2 per cent, a move that effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.