Ahead of Future Food-Tech this week, we had the pleasure of catching up with Chris Quevedo, Senior Manager of Food Products at Terviva to learn more about the Ponova oil they will be serving in their breakout room at the summit and we hear more about how the oil is sourced and its applications.

What is Ponova oil?

Ponova oil is a sustainable clean label replacement for commonly used vegetable oils for a wide range of plant based applications like plant-based butter, mayonnaise, milks & creamers, as well as plant based meats such as chicken and beef. 

We produce Ponova oil from the beans of the pongamia tree, a climate-resilient tree used to reforest land in Asia over the last century. After more than a decade of research and innovation, we’ve created a regenerative food system that transforms this legume into healthy plant-based ingredients which benefit the communities who grow it.

Why would a CPG be interested in using Ponova oil in place of other popular vegetable oils such as soy, coconut, canola, or olive oil?

Ponova oil satisfies consumers’ appetites for quality plant-based ingredients that are responsibly sourced and sustainable. Ponova oil’s regenerative properties make it better for people and the planet than vegetable oils such as soy, palm, coconut, canola, sunflower, avocado or olive oil. 

Its unique blend of saturated fats and slow melting curve make it an excellent ingredient for a wide range of plant-based products. Ponova oil has a buttery flavor and rich mouthfeel compared to other vegetable oils. We are often told it improves the texture and mouthfeel, and that it can behave like an animal fat – but from plants. It has a high smoke point at 437F. Ponova oil is 55% omega 9, making it a mid-oleic oil. Omega-9s are the good fatty acids that reduce the risk of heart disease. 

What are the initial products that we might see Ponova oil as a key ingredient?

We’ve worked with the food scientists at Mattson to understand the best applications for Ponova oil. We’ve found that replacing vegetable oils like sunflower and canola improves the taste and mouthfeel of plant based milk and creamers, butter, and mayo. In plant based chicken, we’ve experienced better texture and juicier tenders. We have also tested Ponova oil in baked good applications and have seen great results.

How do you source Ponova oil? 

Pongamia grows best in the subtropics and we look for opportunities where pongamia can revitalize land and communities. In India, where pongamia is used as a reforestation tree species and millions of tons of beans go unused annually, Terviva partners with smallholder farmers and tribal communities to provide a transparent pongamia supply chain in return for equitable incomes. Terviva operates across three continents, including in Florida, Hawaii, Belize and Australia, where we partner with farmers to plant and cultivate pongamia trees that improve soil health and land quality while generating new sources of income. 

What can visitors expect at the Tasting a Regenerative Food System breakout session?

We’re excited to share tasty samples of foods that use Ponova ingredients as a sustainable and clean label replacement for commonly used vegetable oil ingredients. Attendees of our breakout session will bite into crispy french fries and vegan mayonnaise made with Ponova oil. We’ll sample a delicious plant-based butter made with Ponova oil, and will also taste graham crackers made with Ponova flour. We welcome everyone to also visit our booth to sample artisan coffee and a plant-based creamer made with Ponova oil.