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University Develops a Replacement for Palm Oil that is Healthy and Environmentally Friendly

Food experts at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh have developed a new ingredient that has the potential to replace palm oil in bakery products. The new palm fat substitute is healthier and more environmentally friendly than palm oil.

The University’s novel replacement ingredient could offer significant solutions for the food industry, allowing manufacturers to satisfy increasing consumer demand for tasty, lower fat, healthier food products, whilst reducing deforestation of the world’s rainforests.

Working successfully as a replacement for palm-based fat in baked goods, the newly developed ingredient, which has 25% less fat and 88% less saturated fat, allows goods, such as cakes and biscuits, to maintain their texture, flavour and colour.

The new ingredient, which includes a by-product from the linseed industry, fibre and rapeseed oil, can be produced locally at the global scale and is cost-competitive. If used by the food industry to replace palm oil, it has the potential to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the impact of food miles and deforestation of global rainforests associated with palm production. The implementation of this innovative new strategy would assist the food industry in reducing its reliance on the over-cultivation of palm.

The innovative new palm substitute known as PALM-ALT has been developed by Dr Julien Lonchamp, Reader in Food Science, and Catriona Liddle, Head of the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation (SCFDI) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. The team has been motivated to address the current challenges facing the industry and provide a positive solution to the environmental damage associated with current palm cultivation.

*Funding for this research project was provided by Innovate UK via their Sustainable Innovation Fund in 2020-22.

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