Fat replacement is the systematic use of non-fat ingredients, such as proteins, carbohydrates or fibers in place of formulation fats to achieve fat and calorie reduction. An important factor in fat replacement is to minimize the negative impact to the foods: the loss of juiciness and lubricity, and compromised texture and mouthfeel.
Traditionally, fat serves to lubricate, acts as a carrier for flavours, coats the palette and enhances the overall eating experience. Simply replacing fat with more protein and water will lead to differences in texture and eating qualities. Reducing the fat and replacing it with hydrocolloids or fibers can lead to a better overall product as textures and mouthfeel are maintained.
Salad oils play important roles in coating the palette, producing a longer-lasting flavor and reducing the sharpness of acids used (citric or acetic acid, or their natural equivalents). Lowering the oil content creates the perception of a poorer quality dressing. Hydrocolloids are excellent solutions because they stabilize salad dressing as an oil-in-water emulsion and improves mouthfeel as the oil portion is reduced. Even fat-free dressing is possible with hydrocolloids.
In dairy, fat levels are directly proportional to the perceived richness of the end product. Reducing fat in dairy can lead to noticeable differences in the perceived richness of the end product. Fat also plays an important function in stabilizing over-run in aerated products. Hydrocolloids are amazing substitutes for fat in dairy. They increase the perceived richness of the final dairy product and stabilize reduced fat over-run products.
Lean ground meat is a healthy alternative but is more costly and leads to grainier, coarser textures after cooking. An iota carrageenan based gel can be incorporated into a food service ground beef application to realize both fat reduction and cost savings. The gel can be prepared on standard meat processing equipment such as a bowl chopper.
Fat-free Vinaigrette or Low-Fat Mayonnaise
Functional blends of iota carrageenan, xanthan and guar, all natural and significant sources of dietary fiber, can achieve fat and cost reduction while avoiding the long and stringy texture of using just xanthan and/or guar.