As the city-mandated July 1 deadline loomed, New York City bakers scrambled to roll out reformulated products that met city requirements without losing quality. Artuso's Pastry Shop in the Bronx, an Italian full-line retail bakery specializing in both traditional Italian pastries and wedding cakes, felt the squeeze.
Joseph Artuso, who has been in business for sixty years, says the entire trans fat-free transition was a difficult one. Getting things to be trans fat free was easy enough, but to do so while maintaining consistent, high-quality products was a challenge.
“We were working with about five different companies. All had sent me examples and samples, but nothing could get close to what we were looking for,” says Jose Juarez, head baker.
The samples from Bunge Oils, however, looked promising. He began to reformulate with a number of Bunge products, and thanks to the guidance of Bunge's on-site technicians, he was able to arrive at formulas that maintained the bakery's standard of quality.
Specialty Italian pastries are a large part of Artuso's business, and as could be expected, cannoli is a cornerstone of that segment. Juarez needed a frying oil that could deliver a trans fat-free cannoli that was still up to the benchmark of quality that customers had come to enjoy. Frying oils vary greatly in their fry properties, and Juarez expected problems. To his surprise, Bunge's Donut Fry NT® worked wonderfully, and customers didn't notice the difference in the cannoli.
But Juarez was reserving judgment until after he made the seasonal St. Joseph's zeppole. From January through March, Artuso's produces thousands of the small fried dough balls. Juarez knew the shortening was what he was looking for after it passed the volume and flavor tests for the specialty zeppole.
Another area of concern during the reformulation was wedding cakes, both the cake itself and the buttercream.
“At first it was very challenging with the cake mixes and the buttercream mixes. It has been a lot of work, making that transition,” Artuso says. “It was a trial and error process; we tried different products, but we were happiest with the Vream RighT® buttercream; we have had some very nice responses.”
Wedding cakes are unique among Artuso's products because they have to be displayed for hours and must retain their shape and consistency for at least one day without a protective case.
“Right now we have really hot weather in New York, and that can spell disaster for buttercreams,” Juarez says. “Generally, heat really kills them, but that's not the case with Vream. Whoever came up with the Bunge icing, they hit the nail on the head for our needs.”
The buttercream reformulation has been such a success that buttercream-topped cake sales are becoming a larger percentage of total cake sales. Juarez attributes the increase in buttercream cake sales to the perception of health in a trans fat-free cake, but also to the flavor.
“The flavor isn't heavy or greasy,” Juarez adds. “People are ordering more of it.”
For more information about Bunge Oils' full line of trans fat-free products, call 314/292-2000 or visit www.bungenorthamerica.com