The Palm-Alt project at QMUniversity is identifying a new, sustainable alternative to palm fat to protect our planet
Today, palm oil is a major topic of discussion. It’s known for being one of the most damaging fats, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and climate change. However, the problem with palm oil isn’t cultivation itself. In fact, the process for cultivating palm fat is actually highly sustainable. The problem lies in the food industry’s dependence on palm oil, resulting in over-cultivation to meet the demand.
The solution, therefore, isn’t to cease palm oil cultivation; it’s to provide the food industry with suitable alternatives that are able to replicate palm oil properties.
Dr Julien Lonchamp, Biochemistry & Food Science Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, is on a mission to do just that. Through the Palm-Alt project, Lonchamp is working to replace palm oil in the food industry by using a combination of linseed processing co-product and beta-glucan. Together, the two ingredients demonstrate a strong ability to mimic the qualities of palm oil in food products.
With help from the Sustainable Innovation Fund, the Palm-Alt project was able to reach out to industry partners to produce the ingredients at factory level, and apply the alternative to a range of applications including pastries, cakes, biscuits, and oatcakes.