Oils and fats are an essential ingredient. Period. It’s their versatility which makes us chefs reach for them in every service. Because a simple dash of olive oil or a chunk of butter can make a big difference in your dish.
While diners are becoming more curious about knowing what they put in their bodies, they are also becoming stricter with their dietary requirements. Gluten-free, low fat, low carb, keto are just a few of the recent trends, but when eating out, few people consider the oils and fats that chefs use.
To be fair, with almost daily updates about which ‘good’ oils and fats to use – combined with more product choice than ever – including vegetable oils, butter-based oils and nut oils – it can get a little confusing.
That is why we have created this simple guide to help you make the right choices in your kitchen and to keep your customers coming back.
Fats and oils have attracted a lot of bad press in recent years. However, they’re an essential part of a balanced diet, helping our bodies absorb other nutrients and boosting energy levels. The World Health Organisation says that 20 – 35% of the daily diet should come from fat. And that’s not just from added fat: avocadoes, nuts and cheese are all good natural sources.
High amounts of saturated fats are found in butter (51%), coconut oil and fatty meats, and too much of it can lead to heart disease. That’s not to say you have to banish them entirely from your menu. Moderation is key.
Something to be aware of for the healthy section on your menu are the amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in your ingredients. You can find out where to look on ingredient labels here.
Olive oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fat and is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, proven to be good for heart-health.
Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats – our bodies don’t make them. Plant-based oils are easy, go-to sources for these fats. Think corn oil, sunflower and linseed oil. They also provide Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, great for increasing ‘good’ cholesterol and looking after bone health.
We, at UFS, continually source healthy oils to use in our products and Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise is a great example. Soybean oil is one of the main ingredients used to help create that famous rich creamy taste, and over half is made up of polyunsaturated fats. That means it’s packed with those health-boosting Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and is as good for the body as it tastes – a great selling point for your health-conscious diners.