The quest to save the world from global warming and petroleum dependency is causing soaring prices of vegetable oils worldwide. Large bio-diesel facilities have been implemented internationally, with the U.S. producing bio-diesel from soybean oil, the E.U. from rapeseed oil, and Malaysia and Indonesia using palm oil. In return, soy oil prices have reached a 23-year high in 2007, and palm oil futures (on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange) reached a historic high in early June 2007. In short, the push for bio-diesel has tied oil and food prices together and has resulted in the price of corn reaching prices comparable to crude oil, when comparing the two commodities based on price per unit of potential energy, according to The Economist.

As part of a solution for this bind in food production, as well as consumers’ interest in health and weight management products, Stepan Company has developed an emulsifier for low-fat margarine and spreads that enables manufacturers to lower the amount of vegetable oil in their products, without impacting integrity. Drewpol® PGPR (Polyglycerol Polyricinoleic Acid) is a GRAS emulsifier that may be used in low-trans and non-trans fat formulations. When used in table margarines and spreads, the products exhibit improved stability, are easier to spread and splatter less when used in frying.

Reducing the cost of production due to replacing vegetable oils is only one of the draws of Drewpol PGPR. Traditionally, the degree of hydrogenation of the margarine base stock has determined its firmness. Because of this, the trans fatty acids have been the components most responsible for end-use performance and stability. Oils containing no trans fats are not stable in the ß' form and tend to impart a spongy, grainy appearance. Drewpol PGPR gives non-trans margarines exceptional smoothness and greater consistency, which is beneficial to manufacturers, as non-trans margarines are rising in consumer demand.

—Kerry Hughes, Contributing Editor

For more information:

Stepan Company, Maywood, N.J.
James M. Butterwick,  201-712-7642