The company’s technology, which has been four years in the making, was unveiled at IFT 2015.
Dilip Nakhasi, director of innovation at Bunge Oils, Inc., told BakeryandSnacks.com that they started focusing and working harder on this and other similar shortening innovations in 2013, just as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that partially hydrogenated oils were not recognized as safe for use in foods.
This vegetable-based plastic shortening uses phytosterols to help replace the usual suspects of saturates within shortening. In addition to taking a step closer to clean label, Bunge says its tortilla shortening has an 18% longer shelf life than traditional shortening, as the water/starch matrix is stabilized.
“This allows us to create the structure that was missing without having to use partially hydrogenated oils,” Nakhasi told BakeryandSnacks at IFT 2015 in Chicago. “In a tortilla, phytosterols allowed us to extend the shelf life of the flour. If you look at the rollability, it has increased with our product. … It increased its tearability as well. It has helped us to keep the structure, moistness, quality and edibility of the tortilla.”
Looking for nutritional value
Even though Bunge’s tortilla shortening has functional benefits, Nakhasi said the main driver was to create a product with better nutritional value. In the past, they’ve seen success with other similar shortening products, such 237 Phytobake Specialty Shortening, primarily used in pizza dough.
Specialty Tortilla Shortening facts
One serving size of Bunge's Specialty Tortilla Shortening (49g) contains:
- 1g of Saturated Fat
- 0g of Trans Fat
- 1g of Polyunsaturated Fat
- 1g of Monounsaturated Fat
Ingredients: Canola Oil, Palm Oil, Hydrogenated Sobybean Oil and Phytosterol Esters
The key in the creation of this technology, according to Nakhasi, is to ensure that partially hydrogenated oil, sodium metabisulfite and mono-diglycerides were eliminated from the shortening. By using phytosterol esters in this tortilla shortening, Bunge said it has reduced Saturated Fat and Trans Fat by 46%.
“Pure and simple,” he said. “That’s been a key for us to push forward … because it meets the quality of what the FDA is asking.”
In addition to health benefits, Bunge touts improved rollability of its tortilla. In a rollability test earlier this year at Texas A&M University, Bunge’s product saw only a 10% drop-off in rollability after 28 days. This should directly correlate to an improved shelf life, as the product stays fresher for longer.
Bunge has received a lot of interest from larger companies for application specific use of this tortilla shortening, Nakhasi said, as food companies drive toward a cleaner label. Manufacturers are able to ask Bunge to customize the shortening for a specific application and use. It can be changed for each company, with Nakhasi saying it can be used on products that need to stay on the shelf, as well as restaurants wanting an improved product.
“We can make adjustments on it to fit their needs,” he said. “It’s a technology, not a product, so it’s very flexible.”