General Mills files patent on frosting low in trans fat

by Jeff Gelski
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General Mills, Inc. has filed a patent related to low-density frosting compositions that are low in trans fat and contain non-hydrogenated, palm oil-based fat.

MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. has filed a patent related to low-density frosting compositions that are low in trans fat and contain non-hydrogenated, palm oil-based fat.

“While a strong interest lies in removing trans fats from food products, including R.T.S. frostings and low-density R.T.S. frostings, the challenge of re-formulating previous commercial products to avoid trans fats is daunting, especially if consumer expectations are already in place, which is true for low-density, R.T.S. frostings,” General Mills said in U.S. patent application No. 20150223486.

A density suitable for a low-density, whipped ready-to-serve frosting ranges from about 0.75 grams to about 0.95 grams per cubic centimeter, according to General Mills.

“For these low-density products, stability requires good resistance to air cell collapse or coalescence upon extended shelf storage or during stirring or other use by a consumer,” General Mills said.

The patent relates to low-density frostings that may be sold commercially and feature desirable taste, texture, mouthfeel, appearance, viscosity, spread-ability and storage stability properties. Fat of the frosting includes two separate components. One is non-hydrogenated, palm oil-based shortening. The second is a crystal-enhancing fat component such as a room temperature solid fully-hydrogenated fat ingredient or a room temperature solid partially-hydrogenated fat ingredient.

In less than three years partial hydrogenated oils may not be allowed in the production of frosting or any other food item. The Food and Drug Administration in the June 17 edition of the Federal Register said it had determined there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (phos), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for any use in human food. Food companies have until June 18, 2018, to remove phos from their products.
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