Thanks to the support of so many great customers Hilary’s is growing and changing and with that comes a lot of decision making. We are facing an ingredient challenge and want to share with you our team’s process for deciding what ingredient to use.
We have been cooking with coconut oil from the start. We love the great flavor, the uniqueness that sets us apart, and the health information that shows the benefits of cooking with an oil with more saturated fat. Unfortunately, the FDA categorizes coconut as a tree nut (although any plant scientist will tell you that coconut is not a nut). The first thing we did was that we talked with lawyers and other food manufacturers about working with the FDA to change this designation. It became quite clear that we were not going to be able to make any impact on this at this time. We want to stand tall in the “free from” space and be able to make the claim of being common allergen free in support of so many of our customers that live with food allergies. We are happy to grow in this way and frankly quite disappointed and conflicted to move away from coconut.
So how to decide what oil to choose? For a company our size we have several factors to consider : availability, suitability to our cooking process, known health factors, and price. With all this in mind we have chosen organic, nonGMO, expeller pressed canola oil. Expeller pressed oil is not processed with hexane, contains a nice balance of omega 3’s , is low in saturated fat (which many people work to limit) has a high smoke point that works for our cooking style, comes at a fair cost and is readily available.
We know that there is a lot of health information that is strongly opposed to canola oil. All of us here read that too, and many of us have steered clear of canola in favor of other oils for a long time. But when we looked more closely at the health information we found that there are also many valid arguments for the use of expeller pressed canola. Two main factors that come up are the oxidization of polyunsaturated oils and the GMOs.
In order to understand the oxidization factor we sent our burgers to a lab: one cooked in coconut oil and one cooked in canola oil. We had the lab determine the peroxide value which is a measurement of oxidization. Both samples showed a peroxide value at less than 1 meq/kg, falling in the low oxidization level.
All of our products are verified through the Non-GMO Project. The organic expeller pressed canola oil that we use has been verified to be free of genetically modified ingredients.
We looked at avocado which is a lovely oil, but the small supply and very high cost of organic avocado does not make it a good choice for us now.
Thanks for taking the time to read about how we made this difficult decision. We hope that you can understand the many factors that go into an ingredient decision for a company like Hilary’s and that you can expect us to continue to carefully review the ingredients that we offer to you.
the Hilary’s team