Launched last month, the fat is a blend of vegetable oils, primarily soybean oil, and emulsifiers, used to achieve firmness, slower melting, texture and creaminess, and the technology used to develop it is patent-pending.
According to the ingredient supplier, Lévia+c can be added to a recipe without changing the formulation and has other benefits in addition to reducing saturated fat. It also slows down melting, leaves no residual fat in the mouth, and prevents recrystallization and lumps from forming.
Lévia + c has the same physical structure as a traditional fat but a saturated fat content of 35% and maximum trans fat content of 2%, meaning manufacturers can achieve “significant reductions” in the saturated fat content of the finished product, Cargill said.
“Ice cream has a very complex and sensitive structure, is extremely delicate and there is not just one ingredient for each function. The combination and interaction between these ingredients promotes proper structuring, so the choice of each component must be thorough and careful,” said Fernanda Toledo, strategic marketing manager for fats and oils at Cargill.
The technology behind Cargill’s Lévia range was first studied back in 2014 when it partnered with the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) to develop an ingredient that could reduce trans and saturated fat in products such as fried foods, cookie dough, bread, and chocolate. As demand grew, it expanded the range with Lévia+e for foods that require more structure, such as panettone, cakes, and candy filling.
“However, there was still a gap for dairy products, which needed more creaminess and so we developed Lévia+c, ideal for ice cream, creams, and dairy drinks,” said Toledo.
“The technology used in the development of this [ingredient] is based on the 'structuring' of liquid oils, which promotes the strengthening of the crystal fat network,” Toledo told FoodNavigator-LATAM. “The formation of more stable crystals in the correct amount, shape and size provides rapid crystallization and product stability.
Toledo added that Cargill’s research into Lévia is ongoing and it is looking into developing greater efficiency in other applications.
Although the ingredient was developed primarily to meet the demand of the domestic Brazilian market, Cargill said it would not exclude the possibility of exporting to other countries.
Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Cargill Brazil is one of the biggest food companies in the country with 11,000 employees.