Jochen Weiss

Tailoring Fats and Oils For Novel Food Applications

Department of Food Material Science, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Stuttgart, Germany

The global fats and oils market size is currently seeing a large growth from an estimated $246 billion in 2022 to around $376 billion by 2032. Price increases in this commodity class have outpaced inflation ranging 18% from 2021 to 2022 alone. This is not only due to an increased demand but also due to a shrinking supply associated with climate change and global conflicts fracturing supply chains. The need to take a new look at fats and oils extraction and structuring also arises from them being key constituents of food systems that provide essential techno- and biofunctionalities such as providing energy, supplying fatty acids as building block for membranes, carrying fat soluble vitamins, flavors, and antioxidants and generating interesting texture sensory attributes. But also minor lipid constituents such as phospholipids, glycolipids or waxes that be be obtained from side streams are of interest to food scientists in order to enhance sustainability. New raw material sources are therefore currently investigated for their potential to be exploited, but their functionality must then be tailored to meet supply and design needs. Specifically, with the advent of the growth in functional, vegan and vegetarian foods, there has been a renewed interest in carrying out fractionation or structuring approaches that yield tailored lipid ingredients that can be used to generate meat or dairy analogues. There, approaches had to be developed to make plant-based fats and oils mimic the behavior of adipose tissue, requiring not only new lipid materials to be available, but also structuring techniques that could convert them into animal fat analogues. In this overview and outlook presentation we will look at novel plant, animal and microbial sources, discuss properties and target functions in the context of downstream process design, with a focus on more sustainable extraction technologies. Specifically, we will be highlighting combination of processes leading to a targeted extraction and fractionation to generate value-added lipid compounds from different raw materials. Challenges associated with the three key steps, namely (i) pre-processing and disintegration, (ii) extraction and refinement, and (iii) fractionization will be discussed, especially as it comes to making these processes more sustainable. Some target fractions that may be obtained by the above approach will be introduced, focusing on specific process requirements for each fraction type. There, we will highlight research needs and gaps in the knowledge base as it pertains to the linkage between process and target functions. Some examples of what may become possible when fractionation and structuring approaches are combined will be then be given. Specifically, we will take a look at waxes, which are currently being investigated as novel structuring agents for oleogels discussing potential of these compounds for emerging food applications. The presentation will conclude with a summary and an outlook into expected future developments.  


Prof. Dr. Jochen Weiss holds a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and a Ph.D. degree in Food Science from the University of Massachusetts. He is a full professor at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany where he chairs the Department of Food Material Science. He currently also is the Director of the Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology. His research work focuses on fundamental and applied physical phenomena and material behavior of foods with an emphasis on applying this knowledge to biopolymer and lipid systems to generate meat and meat analogue products. Over the past years, he has authored and coauthored close to 450 research articles on food science and engineering in refereed journals, 15 book chapters, 2 books and 12 patents. He was named a highly cited researcher in the field of Food & Agriculture by Thomson-Reuter from 2014-2019. Prof. Weiss served as Vice President of the University of Hohenheim from 2011-2017, and as Interim Director of Education in EIT Food from 2016-2018, the European Unions’ Knowledge and Innovation Community on Food. He also served as the academic co-chair of the European Technology Platform Food4Life from 2015-2020.