What is lecithin?

16. January 2017

Lecithin is a component of the cell membranes of plants and animals. A main property of lecithin is that it allows water and fats to mix, which has made it an indispensable substance in the food and feed industries. Lecithin is also used in the NON-FOOD sector. For economic considerations, many industries use watery emulsions of fats and oils instead of pure oil. Lecithin plays an important part in this as an emulsifier and active ingredient. The main growing regions for NON-GMO soy lecithin are India, Brazil and Europe. As a grower of genetically unmodified genotypes of the soy bean, India has become one of the main suppliers of NON-GMO soy lecithin to Europe. Due to the allergen issue of soy, however, more and more lecithin is extracted from sunflower seeds nowadays. Rapeseed is another source of the substance. Switching from soy to sunflower lecithin is problem-free in many fields of application. The NON-FOOD applications of lecithin include the cosmetics, clothing and construction industries; the latter uses it for the treatment of timber. In the FOOD sector, NON-GMO soy lecithin is used by manufacturers of bread and baked goods, instant foods, ice cream and chocolate.

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