In general, soybean and sunflower lecithin are established ingredients in food manufacturing. But the war in Ukraine and other supply chain issues have reduced the availability of both soybean and sunflower lecithin. With prices rising, food producers may need to consider alternatives. Rapeseed lecithin is often overlooked as a candidate, so how do you use it in different food applications?
Historically, rapeseed lecithin is mainly used in animal feed rather than food products for human consumption. Depending on its origin it may have a darker color than soybean and sunflower lecithin along with a different, nuttier flavor that might affect more sensitive food applications. All this may have created the idea that rapeseed lecithin is somehow inferior to soybean and sunflower lecithin. But the truth is that food producers can use rapeseed lecithin in many applications with only minor adjustments to their recipes or processes.
While rapeseed lecithin's darker color is less of a concern in applications like chocolate, it might be perceived as a challenge in lighter-colored and dairy products, like instant powdered milk or light fillings. To put this to the test, we commissioned an independent study that measured the L*a*b color values of milk powder containing soybean, sunflower and rapeseed lecithin and the sensory properties in a white filling. The results show that rapeseed lecithin has minor impact on the chromatic appearance of powdered milk (visual perception).
Also the test suggests that a normal addition rate in white fillings, the studied lecithin samples are interchangeable since the samples didn’t have any significant differences in the different sensorial attributes. Only in case of extremely high addition rate (1%) a higher intensity aftertaste can be anticipated.
The picture below shows the summarized results of the sensory study on white chocolate. The complete overview of results on both color impact on powdered milk and sensory properties in white fillings can be downloaded via the button at the end of this Insight.
Rapeseed lecithin is more viscous than soybean and sunflower lecithin which could affect handling and processing, but unlike in animal feed, rapeseed lecithin is standardized prior to use in human food applications. Our standardizing process reduces viscosity, improves microbiological quality and regulates acetone insoluble (AI) content. This results in a rapeseed lecithin which is just as useable as soybean and sunflower lecithin while providing other benefits like stability and consistent quality.
In terms of taste, we have demonstrated in this 2022 Insight that rapeseed lecithin has no noticeable impact on the flavor or color of chocolate. In fact, rapeseed lecithin can be used in most food applications without affecting the taste. So if you're manufacturing bakery products, plant-based dairy, confectionery, instantized products or any other application, rapeseed lecithin has high chances of being a solid alternative for you.
Bunge Loders Croklaan offers rapeseed lecithin in powdered, sprayable and liquid forms. Their functionality depends on the recipe and processing so you may need expert advice to optimize them in your products. Our experts have many years of experience with lecithins and can help you optimize your recipe for rapeseed lecithin where needed.
Call on our team for the best advice.