Healthier ice cream by replacing saturated fats with oleogels

February 13, 2018

The structure of ice cream is highly dependent on presence of solid fat. However, consuming high amounts of saturated fatty acids is related to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Ice cream could become a healthier product by replacing saturated fats with unsaturated oils.

Up and till now the research on how to replace unsaturated fats in ice cream has been limited. This study is the first to describe a way of using ethylcellulose oleogels in ice cream. Under normal circumstances unsaturated fats cause coalescence in ice cream resulting in poor meltdown retention, low overrun and general low structural stability. This research tested the theory that oleogel can mimic the structural properties of saturated fat, providing us with the smooth mouthfeel and rich flavor that we like from ice cream while having the healthy properties of unsaturated fat.


By developing an ice cream that uses ethylcellulose to structure the fat (oleogelation), this research sought to overcome the issues of using unsaturated fat. Oleogelation is achieved by heating an ethylcellulose/oil mixture above the glass transition temperature. Even higher temperatures are needed in order to guarantee homogeneity of the oleogel. The still liquid oleogel is then mixed with aqueous portion of the ice cream mix and then homogenised. It was also discovered that is possible to melt the solidified oleogel in the ice cream mix during pasteurisation, which makes it possible to produce the oleogel in advance.


This work shows that it is possible to produce ice cream with unsaturated fat using ethylcelulose as an oleogelator. The ice cream showed higher stability than the ice cream made with liquid sunflower oil. However, when oleogel ice cream was compared to commercially produced ice cream, it showed poorer meltdown resistance, lower overrun and oxidised off-flavour due to the high processing temperature.


Researchers at the University of Copenhagen are currently working to improve the quality of the ice cream and gain a better understanding of ethylcellulose oleogels behaviour in ice cream.


If you would like more information or would like to discuss this research further please contact Daniel Munk.  

Each year EFFoST and Cargill present the student of the year award to six students and also give them the opportunity to showcase their research. In this article Daniel Munck who won the 2nd prize for the MSc student of the year discusses his research. Currently Daniel is a PhD. candidate at the Department of Food Sciences at the University of Copenhagen researching non-thermal treatment of milk.

Cookie settings