Scientists from the University of Calabria, Italy have invented a spreadable form of olive oil.
Through a new technology which uses an innovative crystallization process called “organogelation,” a group of Italian researchers were able to change the consistency of the lipids in olive oil to create a thicker oil of varying textures which can range from a gel-like substance to a solid form.
Professor Bruno de Cindio, head researcher of the Rheology and Food Science Laboratory at the University of Calabria, explained how it works: “In this network structure, the oil remains ‘trapped’ within the changing texture and transforming itself, in the first stage, into a gel form and, in a second stage, into a creamy spreadable paste.”
Using this new technology which has now been patented, the scientists have developed two different types of spreadable olive oil which will be marketed as new products. One is called “Gel Oil”, which comes in two flavors: lemon, and basil and peperoncino, for use in salads and as a spread on bread or in sandwiches.
The other product is a creamier version of the gel which is more similar to butter or margarine, called “Spread Bio Oil.”
The new spreadable olive oil products retain the flavor and health benefits of olive oil and can be used as replacements for butter, margarine or mayonnaise and for use in processed foods and confections.
Spreads have long been marketed that tout olive oil as an ingredient, even when it is mixed with other oils, and the amount of olive oil is usually undisclosed.