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Epogee unveils a fat replacer at IFT… without Olestra’s messy side effects

“Everybody has a certain hesitance,” ​he told FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT show in New Orleans last week, where Epogee made its debut. “But I’ve been working with it for a lot of years now… and as you become more familiar you become more passionate about it.”

Epogee, which recently secured $8.3m in a round led by HG Ventures that will help it produce commercial quantities this year (initially via toll manufacturers), makes EPGs (esterified propoxylated glycerols) from fat rapeseed oil that has been restructured in such a way that virtually none of it is absorbed by the body.

Learnings from Olestra

But this is not another Olestra​​ (a hybrid molecule of sucrose esterified with eight fatty acids from Procter & Gamble that attracted a wave of negative PR over its messy side effects… notably anal leakage), stressed Rowe, adding that Epogee does not cause the same gastrointestinal problems.

We got to learn from their experiences and essentially avoid some things that they did… but we also have better chemistry. Our product is safer in terms of things like vitamin depletion ​[Epogee does not inhibit the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins], but another key thing is that Epogee is made from fat and tastes like fat.   

“Olestra had kind of a weird mouthfeel and for people old enough to remember the potato chips, they didn’t quite taste like potato chips, but French fries or donuts made with Epogee will actually beat regular French fries or donuts ​[on taste/mouthfeel].”

10g of fat typically contains 90 calories (fat has 9 kcals/gram), but 10 grams of Epogee contains just under 7 calories and 0.8g fat (which would be rounded up to 1g on food labels), Rowe explained.

Have your cake and eat it

EPGs effectively allow manufacturers to have their cake and eat it, enabling them to minimize calories and maximize taste, said Rowe.

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