Better than hydrogenated?
For the trans-fat ban, of course! Phase one goes into effect this summer, barring the use of partially hydrogenated oils for frying foods in restaurants. By July 2008, they have to eliminate trans-fats from all food. But Steve Kass, PR for Tofutti, Inc., says this doesn’t affect his company, which delivers trans-fatty Better than Cream Cheese and Sour Supreme as a food manufacturer.
This is part one of SuperVegan’s “No more trans-fats? But how will I go on?” series on the ban as it affects vegans in New York City. Kass explains Tofutti’s part after the jump.
Tofutti introduced trans-fat-free versions of their cream cheese and sour cream four years ago to resounding public response. “We were inundated with complaints that nobody liked it. They all thought we’d switched because it was cheaper,” says Kass. Four years later, the non-hydrogenated spread costs 10-30 cents more to produce per package and has a far smaller following than the original, which performs much better when baked. Still, its popularity is steadily growing, almost exclusively amongst hyper-health-conscious consumers who wouldn’t consider using the hydrogenated version. Stores such as Whole Foods and the Park Slope Food Co-op only purchase the trans-fat-free versions (but Trader Joe’s still carries the original). However, the legality of individual bagel shops buying the original cream cheese in bulk and using it to make their own flavored vegan spreads after the July 2008 deadline is vague, and Kass admits that some will probably switch to the non-hydrogenated version – even if you don’t like how it tastes. I mean, they’re just looking out for you, right?
Personally I think there’s a huge difference in taste between the two versions. Even though it contains just as much saturated fat as the original does trans (the fat goes to your thighs instead of your arteries), the non-hydrogenated version is decidedly less creamy and flavorful in comparison. When you mix half hydro and half non, though, the difference is far less noticeable. I haven’t cooked with either, but I’d love to hear from any SuperVegan readers who could impart some of their bakerly wisdom here.