Lecithin is extracted from plant-based sources like soybean, sunflower seed and rapeseed. Historically soybean lecithin has been the mainstream source of lecithin in the food industry. It's light in color and bland in flavor. As a result, it provides all the functional benefits of lecithin without affecting the appearance and taste of food products. But, with supply chain issues across the globe and geopolitical events in Europe affecting availability of both soybean and sunflower lecithin, food producers may need to consider rapeseed lecithin as an alternative.
There seems to be a perception that rapeseed lecithin is inferior to soybean and sunflower lecithin. This is originating from the fact that historically, rapeseed lecithin has mainly been used in animal feed and the fact that is is naturally darker in color than soybean and sunflower lecithin and has a stronger, nuttier taste. This might worry food scientists that this ingredient might impact more delicately flavored products. This is despite the fact that rapeseed lecithin contains higher levels of phosphatidylcholine which many food producers believe is better for functionality.
Our experts have put this perception to the test. We tested soybean and rapeseed lecithin in chocolate and assessed the products based on various physical and sensory characteristics. The results showed that rapeseed lecithin has no noticeable effect on the flavor or color of chocolate - including white chocolate. Rapeseed lecithin is closest to the functionality of soybean lecithin in chocolate.
Comparing 3 botanical sources for lecithin
Rapeseed lecithin is therefore a good -and in our opinion unjustified unnoticed- alternative to soybean and sunflower lecithin. It can be used in food applications including chocolate, baked goods and powdered food products. Its functionality depends on the recipe and processing, so expert advice may be needed. With many years of experience with lecithins, Bunge Loders Croklaan experts can help you reformulate your recipe for rapeseed lecithin
In addition to our lecithin know-how, Bunge Loders Croklaan can offer a good supply of rapeseed lecithin moving forward. We source rapeseed in Europe and Australia and process it at our facilities in Germany, Hungary and Poland. As a result, we can offer a stable, uninterrupted supply chain with guaranteed quality, and on top of this, ISCC certified sustainable options are available.
Call on our team of experts to find out how to incorporate rapeseed lecithin in your recipe.