Key attributes of the new liquid shortening are compared with those of a more traditional all-purpose shortening.

Struggling with shortening options to help baked products meet FDA trans-free requirements while maintaining proper dough rheology? An ingredient solution is now entering the marketplace.

A new trans-free pumpable shortening from Ventura Foods functions like solid shortening in baking systems to make formulary modification a breeze. The new ingredient reduces labor and waste, increases safety and, most importantly, helps companies achieve a trans-free label while preserving finished product integrity.

Flo Flex™ is designed for the baking industry, including wholesalers and manufacturers. “Typically, for example, cookie manufacturers shy away from liquid or semi-solid shortenings because of a negative effect on dough rheology, particularly in a rotary-molded cookie where controlling spread to preserve molded imprints is of primary importance,” says Frank Stynes, senior vice president, Ventura Foods LLC. “Our new pumpable shortening functions like a solid shortening to help processors control spread during baking.”

The secret is the unique processing, which creates a fluid shortening to mimic the qualities of a solid fat. The reference chart compares typical solid fat content for different types of shortening at different temperatures. Ventura’s Flo Flex pumpable shortening has 23% solids, comparing favorably to a standard all-purpose shortening with solids of 25% to 28%.

A typical liquid shortening has very low solids content. In a baked good, the texture and volume depend on the fat solids to incorporate air into the mix, whereas a liquid shortening will not contain enough solids content to trap the air. Cakes will not rise, and cookies will spread too far and compromise product integrity. The new pumpable shortening combines the best of both worlds: the solids content of a traditional shortening with the pumpability and ease of incorporation into formulation comparable to a liquid.

The product’s healthier oil formulation offers product developers a shortening option that helps sustain original product flavor profiles. It contains little to no emulsifiers, offering a clean-label alternative to help meet the goal of FDA requirements for trans-free products. Flo Flex is stable both during storage and high-temperature processing. Additionally, the shortening is both affordable and in abundant supply. This meterable form of liquid shortening reduces labor compared to traditional 50lb shortening cubes. It avoids waste, the problem of packaging disposal and provides the added benefit of improved safety since it can be pumped straight from a holding tank to the processing area, directly into the mix.

Cookie manufacturers can cut down mix time, because this liquid shortening blends into the mix faster than the cubed variety. Reduced mix time can help the texture of wire-cut cookies, where higher water content means that excessive mix times or dough handling can overdevelop gluten and decrease finished product tenderness. In cake formulations, the product does perform better with some added emulsifiers. In some formulations, it may be possible to reduce the amount of shortening by up to 10%. Flo Flex is available in drums, totes or tanks.

Ventura Foods specializes in a select group of related products, including edible oils, shortenings, dressings, margarine, sauces and flavor bases. This product focus enables the company to develop efficiencies and economies of scale that provide customers with ingredients, services and programs that will enhance and grow their sales.

For more information:
Ventura Foods LLC, Charlotte, N.C.
800-326-2253 •