The firm says soy lecithin is being criticised due to the rapid increase in cross-contamination between genetically modified (GM) and GM-free IP soy.
Through tests in its pilot bakery, Sternchemie tested various lecithin concentrations in three types of baked goods: bread rolls, freeform white bread and sweet tin loaf.
The results indicated that lecithin offers key benefits in baking, according to Sternchemie. As an emulsifier, it makes dough more amenable to machine runability by binding powders to fat and water better. By homogenising the fat distribution, it enables reduced fat content. Without it, bakers would need to use more fat to get a good dough consistency.
"In a comparison of the effects of soy and sunflower lecithins, testing clearly shows that both provide the same results," said Janine Binder, applications technologist at Sternchemie.
A key factor is the very similar composition of fatty acids. Sunflower lecithin has slightly more of the nutritionally beneficial unsaturated fatty acids oleic acid and linoleic acid and equivalent phospholipids.