Edible oils and fats
Edible oils and fats are extracted from various seeds, beans, nuts or fruit. They have been part of the human diet for as long as we can remember. In today’s diet, vegetable oils are a crucial ingredient for preparing food, especially in frying applications.
Fats are used for baking pastries and cookies, while a combination of oil and fat is used for spreadable products, such as margarine, hazelnut- or chocolate spreads, as well as in many other products.
Oil versus fat
Oils and fats consist of the same kind of molecules (triglycerides) but differ from each other in firmness at room temperature. For example, beef fat, palm oil, cocoa butter, and coconut oil remain solid at room temperature, whereas sunflower, rapeseed, and soybean oil are liquid.
The explanation is found within the molecules. A triglyceride exists of three fatty acids, attached by an ester binding, using glycerol as its backbone. Fatty acids are either saturated with a high melting point, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated having a lower melting point – even below 0°C.
The length (number of Carbon Atoms) of the fatty acid chain also has an effect on the melting point. The longer the strain, the higher the melting point. The combination of three longer, shorter, saturated or unsaturated fatty acids in one molecule has a strong effect on the characteristics of oils and fats.
In the food industry, fats are used for baking pastries and cookies. A combination of oil and fat is used for spreadable products such as margarine, hazelnut-, or chocolate spreads, as well as in many other food and non-food products.