Lecithin is the most natural ingredient for a healthy and sustainable alimentation

Innovation has always been a key feature of the food industry. Indeed, the food sector is particularly known for its ability to develop new products that are able to meet the latest habits of the consumer and trends of the market.

The new demands for food ingredients are directed towards the development and implementation of healthier and more sustainable solutions. International markets are clearly geared towards clean and natural ingredients, having generalized their transversal use given their many applications and uses.

Their success is indissociable from the health and sustainability duo. indeed, for instance, one of fields where the industry is focusing a lot of its efforts, is that of the nutritional profile of the aliments, and the diminution of their salt and sugar contents, and their substitution with flavor enhancers.

Another example is the development if solutions for vegetarian and vegan alternatives, with ingredients that, beyond having the proper taste and texture, make up for their potential deficiencies with high levels of mineral proteins and other active ingredients.

Lecithin is a healthy alternative

Lecithin is a complex mix of natural phospholipids. It is found in all natural oils, but soy, sunflower and rape seed oil have the highest contents. It can also be found, though in much lesser quantities, in egg yolk.

As a natural emulsifier, lecithin boasts many different industrial and chemical uses in a wide range of businesses: human and animal foods, pharmacy, dietetics, etc.

And if there is one company that has made the processing of raw lecithin for the food industry its specialty, it’s Lasenor. Our company offers a wide range of specialized uses for lecithin which enable us to provide solutions for the latest demands of the market as well as the needs of our national and international clients.

Lasenor has standardized this natural emulsifier in order to ensure that all its parameters (physicochemical, organoleptic, microbiological, sanitary…) are under control during the production phases and guaranteed for its use and consumption.

A natural substitute

In such a demanding sector as the food industry, lecithin can be found in a wide array of products.

One of its most famous uses is in sugar cookies. Indeed, lecithin is widely used in the production in order to obtain a soft dough and to limit the fat contents of the cookies without sacrificing quality. It is a natural substitute to DATEM, also known as mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E472e). This synthetic emulsifier is used to compensate for the hardness due to the lack of fats during the production phase of the cookie.

For this particular case, Lasenor has a wide range of solutions of hydrolyzed soy (VEROLEC HE-60) and sunflower (GIRALEC HE-60) lecithins which offer the same porousness, hardness, and friability as DATEM, but in a much healthier and more natural form.

One of the other uses for hydrolyzed lecithin is the production of extruded cereals. Lasenor provides to the manufacturers of your typical breakfast cereal the same range of hydrolyzed lecithins as the one used for cookies (VEROLEC HE-60 and GIRALEC HE-60), which have significant advantages: they increase the plasticity of the dough during the extrusion process, they are easily diluted in water and are soy allergen free when you opt for the sunflower lecithin. Moreover, as a natural emulsifier, Lasenor’s lecithins are SOLVENT FREE, meaning that absolutely no solvent whatsoever (including hexane) is involved in their fabrication process. This type of lecithins are sold under the name GIRALEC SF (for sunflower) and VEROLEC SF (for soy).

Organic products and lecithins

Consumer demand for healthier products is causing a general increase in organic production all over the world.

These are products that are exponentially popular and that can now be found not only in specialized stores, but in almost every medium-size to large supermarket.

The latest investigations show that organic products generate economic growth, reduce poverty levels, and are seen as a key factor in rural economic development.

The industry is coming together and collaborating in order to build a supply chain that is safe and able to support demand. The law is also changing – new standards are implemented in order to protect both producers and consumers.

In the case of lecithin used in organic food products, the EU determined in 2019 that it must come from organic agriculture.

In order to confirm their origins, the organic lecithins produced at Lasenor bear a double organic certification: European and American, given they come entirely from Europe and the United States in the case of sunflower and soy lecithins, respectively. Furthermore, the entire production and manipulation process of these lecithins is carried out in Europe, and specifically at Lasenor’s plant in Barcelona.

The European organic certification was granted by the “Consell Català de la Producció Agrària Ecològica (CCPAE)” (Catalan Council on Organic Agricultural Production), an institution included in the list of public authorities and oversight bodies of the European Union.

Lasenor is further certified by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), a certification body accredited by the USDA (ECOCERT).

As a specialist in the development of tailor-made lecithins according to the needs of consumers, Lasenor offers different botanic origins to the manufacturers of organic food: VEROLEC ORGANIC SRN (soy-based) and GIRALEC ORGANIC SRN (sunflower-based)

Allergen-free products

One of the most popular foods in the history of our diet is milk. But in recent years, its consumption is generating controversy among consumers as they look for healthier and more sustainable options, which has increased demand for non-dairy milks. In the American market for instance, almond milk now represents 5% of the dairy market, and is a clear favorite among non-dairy milks. This type of products is also manufactured and sold in other countries like Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Spain.

But given that non-dairy milks are linked to a healthy lifestyle, synthetic emulsifiers are not thought of as a good option, and neither is soy lecithin, given its allergens.

This is why the majority of alternative milks, almond in particular, use sunflower lecithin, and more specifically, due to its high water content, hydrolyzed sunflower lecithin.

This range of hydrolyzed lecithins made by Lasenor facilitates the emulsion and ensures its stability in almond milk in particular and non-dairy milks in general that contain fats.

The recommended products for use in this area are GIRALEC HE-60 SRN and GIRALEC H-US SRN (specifically for the American market).

Fats and sugars reduction

The reduction of fats and sugar content control are one of the main trends in the food industry to fight obesity and make products more attractive to consumers, who care about their health and well-being.

Cookies with a lower fat content are one example of this new demand of the market. Emulsifiers are used in cookie doughs in order to obtain a homogeneous mix of the polar and non-polar ingredients of the recipe, improving the repartition of all the ingredients and thus, improving the rheology of the dough.

The emulsifier is key in obtaining the desired product. Depending on the recipe and the desired properties of the dough, it can act as an airing agent which traps air or forms a complex with other components of the dough such as starch or proteins.

Lecithin, as an emulsifier, has been broadly used in the production of cookies in order to obtain a softer dough and to reduce the fat content in cookies without affecting the quality of the product.

In its most common shape, lecithin is a highly viscous liquid which must be added to the fat part of the cookie given it is immiscible in water and cannot be mixed with flour or sugar. In order to improve its manipulation and facilitate its direct integration into the dough, Lasenor has developed the LECISOL range. It is a powdered product containing 50% of hydrolyzed sunflower lecithin pulverized onto wheat or rice flour and an anti-caking agent. Hydrolyzed lecithin is used due to its higher polarity than standard lecithin, allowing for a perfect integration of all the ingredients of the cookies.

Therefore, given the hydrolyzed nature of LECISOL and its powder form, they are designed to adapt to the various necessities of cookie manufacturers. They are also adapted to gluten-free cookies, given that in the case of the pulverization onto rice flour, our company offers the LECISOL RF GLUTEN FREE option.

The latest technical studies carried out by our I&D department show that LECISOL can also help producers to reduce the fat content in cookies without sacrificing the softness of the product

Sustainability

Inextricably linked to the healthy food markets is the concept of sustainability as a reflection of the new lifestyle that is gaining ground in our society.

The fight against climate change and the preservation of the environment are strategical priorities for Lasenor. The commitment of our company to sustainability is a bet on sustainable development, social progress, environmental balance and economic growth. This commitment can be seen through different actions that aim to reduce the impact of the resources necessary to develop and elaborate its products.

This is why Lasenor has created a logo on the carbon footprint, which is a reflection of our public commitment to handle in a more sustainable manner the greenhouse gas emissions linked to our industrial activity.¡

Conclusion

Food consumption habits are changing all over the world. There is an increasing number of consumers that wish to eat healthier and more sustainable products, in line with a new lifestyle.

An alimentation that combines health and sustainability, and alimentation made of natural, organic and allergen-free ingredients, as well as with lower fat and sugar contents.

In this context, the companies of the food ingredients sector are innovating and developing new products that aim to satisfy consumer demands for more organic products.

One of the food ingredients that offers the best response to the need for both health and sustainability is lecithin, a natural emulsifier that can be used in a wide array of situations in the industry.

Lasenor’s knowledge and experience with this raw material enables us to offer a wide range of solutions that respond to the new necessities of the market as well as the particular needs of its national and international clients, along with all the guarantees offered by a human team specialized in the processing of raw lecithin for use in the food industry.