IOI Loders Croklaan Europe has launched a new next generation shea-based alternative to replace palm oil in bakery products, such as croissants and Danish pastries.

The non-hydrogenated Presdough 270 SB-branded shortening could lower saturated fat content in dough products by up to 40% and total fat by up to 20% while retaining flavour and texture, IOI said in a statement on 1 November.

The shortening was suitable for laminated dough products and created extra “puff” and a crispier crust, while the shea contributed to a golden brown colour.

IOI director of innovation Renee Boerefijn said the company’s goal was to exceed palm oil’s unique functional and sensory characteristics and reduce saturated fats.

“Presdough gives an excellent eating experience with respect top flavour, texture, crunch, appearance and mouthfeel,” said Boerefijn.

Innova Market Insights data showed that new product launches of ‘low fat’ bread, pastries and sweet goods had been growing at an average rate of 15.5% annually since 2012, while product launches featuring palm oil as an ingredient grew at a compound annual growth rate of 23.5% between 2012 and 2016.

Despite the growing number of product launches, bakeries and baked goods manufacturer in Europe were increasingly on the hunt for alternatives to palm oil, IOI said.

Palm oil alternative vegetable fats for puff pastries were based on costly shea stearin, coconut and cocoa butter.

In September, global agribusiness Bunge acquired a 70% ownership interest in IOI Loders Croklaan for US$946M in a bid to expand its portfolio in tropical oils.