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Oleogelation: From Scientific Feasibility to Applicability in Food Products

Scharfe, Maria; Flöter, Eckhard

Oleogels offer the possibility to replace conventional saturated fatty acid (SAFA)‐based lipids with a healthier alternative by immobilizing liquid edible oils in a 3D‐network which is provided by an oleogelator. Numerous molecules which can structure oils rich in (poly)unsaturated fatty acids have been identified. These differ greatly in their chemical composition, network formation, and interactions and thus macroscopic properties of the respective oleogels. Oleogels have been a focal point of food research for over 20 years, yet product applications are lacking. Hence, the question arises whether the application of oleogels is unfeasible or if science lost sight of its objective. This review aims to assess different structuring systems concerning their availability, their potential for the utilization in food products and, if possible, their prices. Moreover, recent studies comprising the application of oleogels in food products are reviewed with special emphasis on the state and the function of the lipid phase during processing and in the final product. Therefore, the physical properties and preparation methods of different oleogels need to be considered in connection with the respective food application. Finally, it is discussed whether the application of oleogels is justified in these products and advantageous in comparison to liquid oil. Practical Applications: A diet rich in mono‐and polyunsaturated fatty acids which make up the majority of liquid edible oils lowers the risk to suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, these oils cannot provide texture to food products in their native state. Oleogelation has the potential to deliver the solid structure necessary for numerous food products by transferring an oil rich in essential fatty acids into a solid‐like structure. Besides, the nutritional value of these oils remains practically unchanged. Although oleogelation has been the objective of various research groups for more than 20 years, product applications are scarce. This review aims to stimulate the mindfulness of research concerning the successful application of oleogels in food products. This hopefully enables a better connection between science and industry.
Published in: European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 10.1002/ejlt.202000213, Wiley