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Processed pork meat products have a relatively high amount of fat that may varied between 20 – 30% or greater. This fat has a significant amount of saturated fatty acids, which affect the cardiovascular health of consumers. Therefore, the food industry is working in the reformulation of meat products by reducing the animal fat content and using vegetables oil which have better lipid profiles.

​​The reformulation may use different techniques such as: structured emulsion, oil bulking systems, or gelled emulsion. A structured emulsion and an oil bulking system are characterized by having oil droplets dispersed in water continuous phase. The gelled emulsion is a matrix of packed gelled water droplets dispersed in an oil continuous phase.

Possible substitutes

The replacement of animal fat by vegetables oils had been already studied, precisely on fresh, cooked and fermented meat products such as meat batters, sausages, patties and frankfurters. Some examples of oils that can be used for this purpose are linseed and olive ones.

Linseed oil is characterized by having high levels of unsaturated acids such as: linolenic (53%), oleic (19%), and linoleic (17%), while the dominant saturated acids are palmitic (6.6%) and stearic (4.4%). Linseed is known for improving nutritional quality of the lipid fraction on dry fermented sausages.

Olive oil is the most mono-unsaturated vegetable oil, containing 56 – 87% mono-unsaturated fatty acids, only 8 – 25% saturated fatty acids and 4 – 22% poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Studies have shown that the use of olive oil significantly increased mono-unsaturated fatty acids content in Greek type fermented sausages.

Food applications & Recommendations

The use of vegetables oil in the reformulation of meat products is very challenging since the animal fat provides the texture, structure and mouth feeling of the final product. Nevertheless, it has been proved that the reformulation of meat product with vegetable oils has closely the same characteristic than the products using pork fat. As consumers are more concerned of what they are eating, we may have some recommendations concerning the reformulation of meat products.

The reformulation of dry fermented sausages with a combination of: olive, linseed and fish oils. This substitution may reduce by more than 50% the fat content of a normal fat sausage from 316 g/kg down to 130 g/kg

​​The reformulation of a frankfurter with olive oil-in-water emulsion needs to be stabilized with soy protein isolate together with the inclusion of second generation of vegetable fibers to reinforce the structure of the emulsion. This replacement of fat can lead to an increase of hardness, springiness, cohesiveness and chewiness but a reduction of adhesiveness.

The reformulation of a bologna-type sausage by replacing the fat with a gel oil-in-water emulsion (pre-emulsified oils). Gelled emulsions are believed to mimic the hardness and the water holding capacity of pork back fat used in the most currently consumed meat products. This substitution asses the sensory, nutritional and technological properties of this product.

We may conclude that meat products using vegetables oils with the different techniques that exists makes possible a product with a better lipid composition, having consequently a direct impact on the health of consumers and their perception of meat products. It is after a question of marketing to value these benefits to the customers to get back a premium on the selling prices.


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