The nature of the successful replacement of partially hydrogenated fats, as outlined above, yields a number of specific solutions to specific product applications. The identification of the respective best set of solutions for a manufacturer is more complicated. On implementing a technical solution, the balance between utilization of a special fat composition, re-design of the manufacturing process and complexity of the supply chain - more raw materials on-site - has to be found. All three factors are related to additional costs. Consequently, they should all be subject to optimization after initial trans-free solutions are established. The complexity of a new transfree raw material portfolio could be a 'show stopper' in cases where layout and tank capacity of a manufacturing site do not allow implementation. Either investment in hardware or preferentially harmonization of raw materials can overcome this impasse. This harmonization of trans-free raw materials needs to involve process optimization and the re-evaluation of product specifications. In retrospective consideration of the elimination of trans-fatty acids in practically all European spreads, one finds that actually the industry as a whole has undergone such a process of harmonization towards an optimal raw material base. Subsequent to the original elimination of TFA in the mid 1990s, initial solutions have been further optimized.
Products have slowly changed and it turns out that finally a wide range of products use a limited set of structuring fats. This industry-wide optimization process has obviously also been helped by the consolidation of the oil and fat suppliers.
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