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Report on Developments in Deep-Fat Frying for Health and Quality

Brian Meyer and Dr Parkash Kochhar

26 May 2015

An international conference on deep-fat frying, organised by the Lipids Group and supported by SCI’s Food Group, in collaboration with Euro Fed Lipids was held, from 5-6 June 2014, at the University of Reading. 52 delegates from ten countries attended the meeting during which various experts from industry and academia delivered talks on the emerging developments on frying.  

In the welcoming address, Dr Kochhar mentioned the past conferences of a similar topic way back in 1997, and briefly reviewed the developments in the concept of 'healthier' frying oil. In the morning session, Prof Niranjan from University of Reading talked about emerging trends in process engineering research for healthier frying, and covered novel strategies to minimise the adverse health impacts of fried products. Prof Sanchez-Muniz from Madrid University detailed hydrolytic and thermo-oxidative changes occurring in frying oils during repeated frying processes. The importance of performing frying with high quality oils under optimum conditions was emphasised. Dr Jane Parker from University of Reading presented kinetic modelling in the formation of, and accurately predicting, acrylamide content in French fries. Bernd Brinkmann from Walter Rau AG addressed key issues concerning production of high stability frying oils and maintenance of quality in food services industry.

In the afternoon session, Richard Burrell from Dow Seeds presented health and performance of omega-9 oils in frying applications and introduced a 2nd generation high-oleic sunflower oil, which will be commercially available in the next 2-3 years. The frying performance of HS-HO sunflower oil was presented by Dr Kochhar in the absence of Lucas Pan, Advanta. Dagmar Behmer from Bruker presented a rapid method for monitoring frying oil degradation by FT-NIR, making it a valuable tool for food quality assurance and for health authorities to check the degree of oil break-down. Brian Cooke, Dallas Group of America described adsorbent technology to maintain frying oil quality in a commercial frying operation. An international lecture on deep-fat frying in nutritionally and commercially challenging environments was presented by Brian Meyer, PepsiCo UK. The talk mentioned more opportunities in deep-fat frying for new snack and food products based on consumer trends and increasingly nutritionally aware consumers in developing countries.

Prof Lovegrove from University of Reading addressed the question: 'Is there an optimum oil for health', in the context of current evidence, reporting dietary targets for saturated fat to be less than or equal to 10% of total energy and trans fats less than or equal to 2% of total energy intake. An alternative strategy of using monounsaturated vegetable oils was also described. Balancing health with taste and stability in frying oil formulations was presented by Dr Winwood, DSM Nutritional Products. The ways for formulating frying oils which offer both stability to the user and health benefits/taste to the consumers were suggested. Deep-fat frying beyond taste and smell in relation to potential health risks and benefits was discussed by Dr Pignitter, University of Vienna. John Carlyon, Klipspringer Ltd, discussed the factors that are important for effective methods for measuring the quality and aging of oils in the fast food sector. Frying is a very energy intensive process that involves the evaporation of significant quantities of water from the food being fried. The modelling approaches for energy saving through advanced control of food frying were described by Prof Tassou, Brunel University. Nuts and nut products are globally becoming choice for snacking by health conscious consumers. Bobby Kane from Heat and Control presented the fryer design, frying characteristics and oil management practices for quality frying of nuts and exotic snacks. Finally, Steve Chandler from SNACMA presented an interesting talk on 'Better-for-you savoury snacks by design', emphasizing vegetable oils for frying and coating savoury snacks have changed dramatically over recent years. Development on even 'healthier' oils, with improved stability are well advanced and should emerge in the market soon, enhancing the healthy image of fried snacks.

The conference ended with healthy discussion on the various issues about the future of frying (which would continue to grow), followed by vote of thanks by Prof K Niranjan from University of Reading.

Two posters: The role of edible coatings on crispness of breaded fried foods by Mahli et al., and  Evaluation of quality and sensory characteristics of air fried French fries by Teruel et al. were also presented during the event.

Four exhibitors, namely Bruker (Germany), Testo (cooking oil tester), Vito (oil filter system), and RSSL (UK) displayed their products which were of great interest to many of the delegates.

Dr Parkash Kochhar
Lipids Group of SCI

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