Dispersed fat and polysaccharides systems
Many protein-based foods contain fats to give the product a creamy feeling and to improve taste. Increased flexibility in the use of appropriate fats and oils would be beneficial when designing foods with a specific fat content and fat composition. Knowledge about the relation between textural properties and fat composition is crucial to this goal. The project aimed to identify strategies to control the textural properties of fat-containing foods by changing the distribution of dispersed fat, and to control the hardness of the dispersed phase.
In the case of liquid-oil, the hardness or solid-like behaviour can be controlled by inducing network formation of structural elements in oil. This creates gels known as oleogels; they are similar to hydrogels, but contain water instead of oil. We examined the different building blocks of these networks and their underlying mechanisms. Potentially, such oleogels could replace solid fats. To test for potential we examined their stability under different conditions such as temperature and aqueous environments. The knowledge gained could help create guidelines on how to change the food’s texture and how to design reduced-fat or low-solid fat products.