Every food company understands that their product is only as good as its ingredients. As a result, even a slight tweak to the recipe or ingredient has the potential to change the taste, texture, the way a product cooks, and the overall quality.
Vegetable oil, perhaps one of the most commonly used cooking oils, is one such ingredient that can make or break the quality—and even the safety—of a food product. And all have their unique benefits and drawbacks.
The good news is that analytical techniques—namely gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis—can help uncover important information about the composition of a cooking oil so food makers and manufacturers like yourself can make decisions on which oil is best for your needs—and bottom line.
Below we outline how we were able to help shed some light on this for a client.
A food service vendor was considering a switch to a new vegetable oil for their product. However, the vendor was concerned the switch could negatively impact their product. As a result, they wanted to know if the new oil was similar to the one they’d been using for years.
Our team of analytical scientists conducted a vegetable oil analysis using GC/MS, a technique that separates, identifies, and quantifies compounds in a sample, on both new and reference (current) oil samples.
Following the cooking oil analysis, the resultant gas chromatogram of the reference oil (top) and new oil (bottom) showed that the reference vegetable oil contained:
- Palmitic acid (retention time of 19.00 minutes)
- Linoleic acid (retention time of 20.6 minutes)
- Oleic acid (retention time of 20.7 minutes)
- Stearic acid (retention time of 20.9 minutes)
None of these compounds were found in the new vegetable oil, which led us to two interesting conclusions:
- Making the switch could have a negative impact. Since even the slightest ingredient tweak can make a big difference, it was important that our client understand that the new oil could impact food preparation or the food itself.
- Not making the switch could leave a healthier and cost effective opportunity on the table. The presence of palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid, tends to raise LDL-cholesterol. As we all know by now, intake of dietary fatty acids can have a strong influence on overall health, so changing to the new oil could prove to position their food processing as a new and improved “healthy” alternative. In addition, stearic acid is neutral, but oils high in oleic acid prove challenging for oxidative stability and nutritional quality as well. Finally, the potential health benefits of the new oil, combined with its lower cost, points to its superiority.
With this information in hand, we were able to deliver our client with a clearer picture of the potential risks and rewards of making the switch to a new oil.
Need Edible Oil Analysis?
Let Innovatech Labs help. With more than 100 years of combined experience in the analytical testing field, our team has the knowledge and expertise to deliver you with fast, accurate results.