Dr Julien Lonchamp, Lecturer in Biochemistry with Food Sciences, was awarded an Innovation Fellowship to develop a novel vegan texturing ingredient for palm oil replacement in selected bakery applications with colleagues at the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation. 

"The Innovation Fellowship allowed us to further develop the formulation of a prototype of novel palm fat replacement, to assess its processing on a larger scale using the SCFDI high-pressure homogeniser and to test its properties in a standard cake recipe."

Palm Oil has become the main fat-based texturizer across the food industry because of its unique lipid composition which allows it to be solid at room temperature, and because of its low production costs. The devastating impact of palm cultivation on the environment has been well documented and the industry is looking for sustainable alternatives. However, so far, no suitable replacer has been found to mimic the outstanding functional properties of palm oil.

As part of this project, Dr Lonchamp and his colleague, Catriona Liddle, optimised the composition and processing of a novel palm fat replacement ingredient mix in a standard cake recipe which displayed a comparable overall sensory profile to a palm fat formulation. 

Dr Lonchamp and Catriona Liddle are currently using the results of this study to develop a research proposal aimed at developing novel sustainable palm- and fat-free applications and to build a collaborative industry-academic consortium to secure further funding.