Non-Hydrogenated Plant-based Shea Margarine for Baked Goods

Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC) announces its new 100% sustainable shea-based margarine, ideal for baked items such as croissants and Danish pastries.

The margarine has no added coloring or preservatives and delivers high functionality and baking performance with superior handling and allows for better total nutritional value. BLC will introduce the new product at this year’s Food Ingredients Europe show in Paris, December 3-5.

Among the benefits it brings – enhancing puff, crispiness, and color in croissants and Danish pastry. It uses no preservatives and it is produced using a unique crystallization process which improves plasticity and workability on production lines.

“Bakeries and baking companies are seeking plant-based margarine alternatives with superior functionality and good flavor, while consumers are demanding non-hydrogenated, sustainable alternatives to palm oils and GMO oils, as well as healthier products. Shea’s fat composition enables it to maintain stable solidity at room temperature making it an ideal candidate for margarine production without the formation of unwanted trans fats. Trans fat is a key problem in margarine that continues to evade most formulators. Our new shea margarine is completely trans-free, and in overall better-for-you product,” explains Renee Boerefijn, director of innovation for Bunge Loders Croklaan.

The new shea margarine has a lower saturated fatty acid level compared to butter. This leads to improved sensory properties, with better mouthfeel and quicker flavor release, while awarding a more durable crispiness. Because of the superior performance, in certain formulations it is possible to use less fat to get the same quality and organoleptic experience as with dairy butter, according to the producer.

Source: World Bakers

Not All Plants Are Good for You

Erik Robinson wrote . . . . . . . . .

So you say you’re interested in a plant-based diet?

It’s true that many plants provide an abundance of nutrients, typically at a fraction of the energy expended to raise animal protein. However, before embarking on a wholesale change in diet, it’s worth considering the research and experience of a trio of neurotoxicologists at Oregon Health & Science University.

Their message: Not all plants are good for you.

That’s particularly true for those who are undernourished or depend on a single plant. But the scientists caution that growing interest in foraging for wild edibles raises the risk for people in wealthy countries, too, especially as some plants may become more toxic with a changing climate.

“The bottom line is that plants and fungi were not put here for our benefit – they need to defend themselves,” said Peter Spencer, professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine and an affiliated faculty member of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU. “They have all sorts of chemical defense systems that would make the Department of Defense blush with embarrassment at their former efforts.”

In a recent review published in the journal Environmental Neurology, OHSU scientists highlighted plants with neurotoxic potential in undernourished people around the world. The study was jointly authored by Spencer along with first author Valerie Palmer, instructor of neurology, and Desiré Tshala-Katumbay, professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

In it, the scientists catalog a quartet of plants that sicken or kill undernourished people around the globe.

“The adverse neurological effects of food dependency on plant components with toxic potential constitutes a significant global health issue,” they write.

The researchers cataloged the potential neurotoxic effects of fruit of the ackee tree, an evergreen native to West Africa and favorite of Jamaica; lychee fruit, a delicious tropical fruit from southern Asia now eaten worldwide; grasspea, a protein-rich legume eaten on the Indian continent and the Horn of Africa; and cassava, a plant whose roots and leaves are consumed across sub-Sahara.

Although these plants provide food for millions, the scientists elucidate ways in which they can rapidly and fatally affect brain function or, in the case of cassava and grasspea, gradually induce crippling disease. Critical is the amount of plant product consumed; the poor health of the people eating it; and the relative availability of each of these plants due to poverty, hunger and, increasingly, climate change.

Cassava is a prime example.

Many people in Africa rely on cassava as a primary food source because it grows well in arid soils. But when stressed by drought, the concentration of its chemical defenses increase at the same time water to wash out the toxic factors is in short supply. Those dependent on cassava develop an irreversible struggle to walk.

Tshala-Katumbay, who fondly remembers eating the cassava root as a child growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has spent the past two decades working with local communities in the DRC to reduce exposure to the plant’s toxins. Although cassava’s toxicity can be reduced through careful methods of food preparation, high levels of consumption make it difficult to eliminate the risk altogether.

“Even if it’s a low-dose toxicant, cumulative exposure may have long-term effects,” Tshala-Katumbay said.

Palmer and Spencer focused decades of their research in the field and laboratory on grasspea, a tasty legume that also causes tremor, muscle weakness and even paralysis in those who depend upon it for sustenance. Before the internet, Palmer formed a worldwide group of scientists with a wide range of expertise, including botany, biology and chemistry, to develop low-toxin strains of this valuable, environmentally tolerant legume.

Unfortunately, Palmer said, people may well become increasingly exposed to potentially toxic plants as the climate warms and the global population expands, especially in low-income countries.

“This is very concerning, particularly because many people are going to need to rely on these crops in the future,” she said.

As they focus on neurotoxins around the world, the OHSU researchers are working to improve human health in developing countries while also advancing scientific understanding about neurotoxins affecting people even in wealthy nations like the United States. For all the effort spent in unveiling the human genome, Spencer believes the “exposome” – the food we eat, the air we breathe, the chemicals we are unwittingly exposed to – is every bit as important in determining human health and preventing disease.

“Prevention of brain disease is our principal goal: seeking and understanding the chemical causes of disease and minimizing human exposure,” Spencer said.

Source: OHSU

Starbucks Locations in Canada are Launching Vegan Yogurt Parfaits and Plant-based Bagel

Grace Mahas wrote . . . . . . . . .

In an effort to cater to vegan consumers, Starbucks Canada has announced it will expand its product line to include vegan yogurt parfait and plant-based everything bagels. The news was shared via a Twitter post from a Starbucks employee who stated that the QSR is removing the cheese from its everything bagel and introducing a dairy-free blueberry yogurt parfait.

This is not the first shift Starbucks has made to appeal to vegans. Back in October, the brand debuted the ‘Witch’s Brew Crème Frappuccino’ that could be modified to be vegan upon request. Additionally, the Starbucks Canada also released a vegan macadamia cookie in 2018 made from oatmeal, coconut, almonds, and macadamia nuts.

As more consumers seek cruelty-free food options, many QSR, including Starbucks Canada, have shifted their products to meet customer demands for plant-based foods.

Source: Trend Hunter

Plant-based ‘Meat’ Mooncakes Debut in China

Mooncakes stuffed with artificial meat will hit the market in China for the first time in September, Chongqing Morning Post reported.

The product was developed by a lab team from the Beijing Technology and Business University and vegan meat brand Starfield.

The first batch will be put on sale in Starfield outlets in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province.

There are two kinds of artificial meat: One is vegan meat made mainly from bean protein, the other is real meat grown from animal stem cells.

The artificial meat stuffed in these mooncakes is plant-based, which has low environmental costs and can reduce wasting animal husbandry resources. It is also suitable for people with high blood sugar, high blood pressure or high blood fats to eat, according to the researchers.

The artificial meat aims to imitate real animal meat in five aspects: color, smell, taste, texture and sound, said Li Jian, who leads the university lab team. Many people don’t understand the sound component, Li said. “When we stir-fry sliced meat or deep-fry fish, the meat will produce an appetizing crackling sound. This sound is what we want to achieve with our artificial meat, together with the other aspects,” he explained.

In an online vote launched by Weibo Technology, 34.4 percent of respondents said they would like to try an artificial meat mooncake, while over 63.3 percent said they would not want to try it or would take a wait-and-see approach.

The technology of making artificial meat is more mature overseas. In China, it has yet to make much headway and is just a concept for vegetarian food, according to food industry analyst Zhu Danpeng.

Besides quality, price is also an important factor relating to the success of artificial meat in the market. The cost of producing artificial meat is not cheap at present and is even more expensive than that of ordinary meat products, said Zhu. The cost will fall as artificial meat becomes more popular, though that will take some time, he added.

Source: China Daily

UN Report Suggests Humans Should Adopt Plant-based Diets to Fight Climate Change

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a major report to inform upcoming climate negotiations as the world faces a global climate crisis.

The report, which was compiled by over 100 experts from across the globe, suggests that drastic changes to human diets are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of global warming and includes a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption.

The UN report suggests that cutting food waste and eating less meat is an effective method to reduce climate change that it predicts will save millions of square miles of land from being degraded by farming. Currently, a quarter of the world’s ice-free land has been damaged by human activity, with soil eroding from agricultural fields up to 100 times faster than it forms.

Dietary choices

Panmao Zhai, one of the authors of the report, commented: “There is real potential here through more sustainable land use, reducing over-consumption and waste of food, eliminating the clearing and burning of forests, preventing over-harvesting of fuelwood, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (to help) address land-related climate change issues.”

“Some dietary choices require more land and water, and cause more emissions of heat-trapping gases than others,” added Debra Roberts, another of the report’s authors.

“Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods, such as coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change,” Roberts continued.


“We don’t want to tell people what to eat,” says ecologist Hans-Otto Pörtner who co-chairs the IPCC’s working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. “But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat, and if politics would create appropriate incentives to that effect.”

“We’re not telling people to stop eating meat. In some places people have no other choice. But it’s obvious that in the West we’re eating far too much,” added Prof Pete Smith, an environmental scientist from Aberdeen University, UK.

Source: Vegan Food and Living