AAK launches first sustainable palm-based bakery shortening

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Palm oil New britain palm oil

AAK launches first sustainable palm-based bakery shortening
Fats and oils specialist AAK has scored another industry first with the launch of a new low-saturated fat pumpable shortening containing fully-traceable, certified sustainable palm oil.

The firm, which was the first to market with fully-traceable straight (refined) palm oil in late 2008, is also preparing to launch a sustainable liquid bread fat from palm oil as part of a commitment to offering sustainable ingredients, UK marketing director Judith Murdoch told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

The new Akofluid shortening contains a blend of rapeseed oil and straight refined palm oil (which is fully-traceable from certified sustainable sources) plus a tiny percentage of a hard mixed-palm stearin fraction that is not (yet) available in a fully-traceable, certified form, said Murdoch.

“You need the harder fraction to produce a shortening that is sufficiently firm for bakery products such as shortcrust pastry but still lower in saturated fat ​[at 15%, Akofluid contains less than half the saturated fat in standard block shortenings].”

Given that the mid-fraction element of the shortening only represented a tiny proportion of the overall oils/fats blend, firms using it could claim that more than 90% the palm content in the product was directly from sustainable sources, she said.

The GreenPalm scheme (see below) could then be used to make up the difference, she suggested. “We’ll probably see more claims such as ‘This product contains palm oil of which x% is from sustainable sources’,”​ she predicted.

“Akofluid is a major step forward in the development of sustainable palm oil products for the food manufacturing industry. Previously there has been no sustainable option providing the blend of oils required by most manufacturers of pastry and bakery products.”

Sustainable fractions

While fully traceable, certified sustainable crude and refined palm oils were now available from firms such as AAK, Loders Croklaan and New Britain Palm Oil,​ most food manufacturers used more complex palm derivatives or blends, which were not yet available in a certified sustainable form, explained Murdoch.

“This is really what we’re focusing on now. We have certified sustainable olein and stearin ​[palm oil fractions] available already, but because customers need to get their houses in order in terms of RSPO ​[Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil] audits and so on before they can use these products, we’re looking at the end of the year before some of them will take deliveries.”

While straight palm can be used in biscuit dough and some other food products, 60–70% of palm oil is sold as derivatives: palm fractions such as olein and stearin; fractions of olein and stearin; palm kernel oil (PKO) or PKO derivatives, which are then blended into bakery fats and other products, said Murdoch.


However, firms using complex derivatives can still contribute to sustainable production by buying GreenPalm​ certificates (trading at www.greenpalm.org​ at around $15) guaranteeing that a tonnage of oil/derivatives equivalent to the tonnage they use has been produced from sustainable sources (approved plantations are allocated one certificate for every tonne produced.)

While this means users can’t guarantee that the physical oil they are buying is from an RSPO-approved plantation, they know the tonnage they use has been made sustainably, said Murdoch.

“GreenPalm was set up precisely because it was not possible immediately to offer fully-traceable palm oil derivatives. But ultimately, it will do itself out of a job.”

Since trading began 19 months ago, more than 650,000 GreenPalm certificates have been traded online, with firms including Tesco,​ Asda, Unilever and Ginsters​ now buying certificates to cover some or all of their palm oil usage.

Related topics Bakery

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast