Estimated time - 4 min

The spreads market segment is constantly growing and evolving. Although Nutella remains the market leader, consumers pay particular attention to the “palm oil free” claims. In the past few years, there have been many product launches without palm oil. However, the challenge is considerable, since palm oil helps to provide the organoleptic qualities of spreads. The ingredient gives a creamy texture to the product and makes it tasty. Different substitution strategies are used by manufacturers.



Cocoa butter / sunflower oil combination

The combination of cocoa butter / sunflower oil is the most widely used solution in formulation. An example is the spreads from L’Artisan Tartineur and Nestlé Dessert. At room temperature, palm oil is semi-solid. The combination of solid cocoa butter with liquid sunflower oil reproduces the characteristic texture provided by palm oil. Sunflower oil is also used for its nutritional value, helping to minimize the saturated fatty acid content of the product. An emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) is added to avoid phase separation.



Alternatives without oil (milk / functional flour) or plant-based (oat juice / almond puree / functional flour)

Michel et Augustin made the bold choice not to add oil to their spreads. To substitute palm oil, a mixture of semi-skimmed milk is heated with functional wheat and cassava flour. A plant-based version based on oat juice, almond puree and functional flour is also available.The use of these ingredients helps to reduce the caloric intake of spreads while ensuring a smooth texture. With these formulations, the shelf life of the products is reduced compared to market equivalents. Another difference, these spreads have to be cold-stored.




Replacing palm oil with legumes is the strategy followed by Funky Veggie and Graine de Choc, which use kidney beans and field beans respectively in their formulation. Legumes add texture to spreads. Their nutritional qualities (high fiber and protein content) are particularly getting the interest of consumers.

These innovations show that special attention is paid to the nutritional quality of spreads. Many manufacturers are also working on reducing the sugar content in their formulations.


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