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Uses of Oil and Fats in Catering

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  • 02-12-2020
Uses of Oil and Fats in Catering

Have you wanted to know more about the most common uses of oil and fats in catering? If you work in the catering industry, you will understand the importance of using the correct cooking oil.

We discuss the most common cooking oils and fats used in commercial kitchens throughout the UK. These include vegetable oils, Margarine spreads, butter, shortening and medium-chain fatty acids.

The oil and fats used in a catering kitchen are all extracted in some form and manner from animals and plants like seeds Canola, Sunflower), fruit (Olive), legumes (peanut), nut (Walnut), grains (corn) and other sources. The methods that are used will affect the products quality and also how they can and are used in the food industry when cooking. 

The main goal for all chefs is that their food tastes good. Chefs and cooks will choose frying oil and cooking oils for their taste and flavour when making their selection of products. Chefs have a great understanding of how waste oils and fats can impact the environment and their consumers. It is this reason why more and more chefs are now choosing and using more sustainable, environmentally friendly products in their commercial kitchens. 

Selected Uses of Fats and Oils in Food

There is a wide variety of products that are based on edible fats and oils and are available for the general public to consume.

See below a list of some types of fats and oils and their uses. 

Salad and Cooking OilsSalad and cooking oils are usually prepared from vegetable oils that have been deodorised, bleached, and in some cases lightly hydrogenated, winterised and de-waxed. Sunflower, Soybean oil, peanut, rapeseed, olive oil and corn oil are some of the main oils sold in this form.
MargarineMargarine spreads are made from vegetable oils; it can contain fish oils, animal fats milk and colouring agents and emulsifiers. It has similar characteristics to butter. The oils are hydrogenated to form a solid.
Margarine is not suitable for frying food, and it is too soft to be rubbed into flour to make pastry and crumbles etc.
ButterButter is one of the most acceptable fats available in terms of how it feels in our mouths, richness and flavour. Even though there are many products on the market that have tried to replicate butter, and some people do prefer these. There is no duplicate for the quality and taste of butter.
ShorteningsShortening is a type of fat used for baking or frying; it includes additives that will enhance its use. Any hard fat is classed as shortening. These fats will produce crumbly shortcrust pastry.
Shortenings are white and are made of either blended vegetable oils or a mixture of fish oils, animal fats and vegetable fats and oils.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)These are a type of fat which contains medium-chain fatty acids, these will have between 8 and 12 carbon atoms and are usually saturated. These fats are typically very limited in western diets with palm kernel oil and coconut oil being the only rich sources.

What Is The Best Oil for Deep Frying Food?

Sunflower oil is one of the best frying oils to use when you are using a deep fat fryer. Sunflower oil gives excellent results for crispy batter and chips. Sunflower oil has also been found to strengthen your immune system, help prevent heart disease and keep your skin clear. It is one of the better oils to add to your diet. 

How to Handle Waste Cooking Oil

If you have commercial premises and use cooking oils and fats, you will need to have a secure storage container to put your waste oils and fats in. 

You must use a registered reputable company to remove your waste; this is a legal requirement. 

Best Practice for Handling Waste Cooking Oil

You must contact a reputable company that is registered under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990: Duty of Care. The company you use must produce the correct documentation to prove they are licenced to collect and dispose of this type of waste. 

Under the 1990 Food Safety Act, you can be prosecuted or issued with an enforced cessation of trading if any problems arise from the effects of cooking oils, fats and grease used in the catering trade that have been disposed of negligently.


If you work in the catering industry, there is a good chance that you require waste oil collection. Infinity Oils offer waste cooking Oil Collection in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee and throughout Scotland.