On 1 June 2022, for the first time since late March, the global oil price rose about $117 per barrel (£93.47). Amid supply chain uncertainty and soaring prices, it has never been more crucial for the hospitality industry to maximise the life of cooking oil. But how can that be done without negatively impacting the safety and quality of your menu?  

At Klipspringer, we decided to host a webinar answering exactly that. Led by a panel of oil management experts, this webinar detailed six actionable steps to ensuring that your food oil is compliant, consistent, and methodically conserved.

Using relevant clips from the webinar, this article breaks down each step into concise, digestible chunks. It answers some of our mostly commonly asked questions, including: 

When should I change cooking oil? 

How do I check oil quality? 

Does filtering help to extend oil life? 

Navigate the menu below to be directed to the step most applicable for your food oil needs, or keep reading for a holistic insight into one of the most pressing issues the hospitality sector faces today.   

You can also view the webinar in full below:

Step 1: Choosing the Right Oil

As put by Vincent Igoe, Managing Director for Olleco Scotland: “In my 25 years in the industry, I’ve never seen markets like this”. The astronomical current price of oil is unprecedented, and is being caused by factors such as: 

  • A knock-on from the Covid-19 pandemic 
  • Extreme weather in Western Canada 
  • Increased biodiesel demand in the EU  
  • Adverse weather across South America 
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine  

These circumstances have culminated in strong global demand for oil, but extraordinarily weak supply. In light of this, selecting the right type of oil has never been more crucial.  

When choosing the best oil for frying, there are five overarching aspects to consider: 

a) Taste 

b) Performance 

c) Cost 

d) Safety 

e) Sustainability 

Once you’ve evaluated each of these aspects and narrowed your search down to one or two types of oil, refer to the below chart for the specific benefits of three widely used oil types.  

Rapeseed Oil

Vegetable Oil

Long-Life Oil

Non-genetically modified seed

Produced from genetically modified soya 

Non-genetically modified seed 

Extended life

Extended life

Lasts 2x longer than extended life oils 

Anti-foaming agent (makes it safe for use in fryers) 

Contains anti-foaming agent 

Lasts 2x longer than extended life oils 

Anti-foaming agent (makes it safe for use in fryers) 

Contains anti-foaming agent 

Contains anti-foaming agent 

High smoke point 

One of the UK’s best-selling standard cooking oils 

Certified by RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) 

Step 2: Choosing the Right Fryer

Once you’ve selected the right oil type for your needs, an effective oil fryer is the next requirement. Watch the above clip for advice from Michael Eyre, Culinary Director at Jestic Ltd, on various industry staples, including:

  • Simple Fryers (£)
  • Gravity (External) Filtration Fryers (££)
  • Pumped (Internal) Filtration Fryers (££)
  • Digital Fryers with Built-In Filtration (£££)
  • Low Oil Volume Fryers (££££)

Step 3: Fryer Operation and Filtering

After selecting an appropriate oil fryer, it’s important to learn how it operates. This requires thought about food types, (auto)filtering, skimming, loading, and frying temperatures. For example, does your food type contain crumbs (e.g. breaded chicken)? If so, do you have a workable particulate filtration system in place to catch solid impurities that might fall into your oil?

Read on for a three-part process to ensure the best frying practices.

Before Frying:

  • Don’t skip ‘melt-mode’ in your morning check-ups and clean
  • Never fill the basket over the vat
  • Respect the recommended quantity per basket (don’t overfill the basket)
  • Ensure that oil is at cooking temperature before dropping the basket in
  • Cook food items either always from frozen or always from fresh (for better consistency)

During Frying: 

  • Ensure correct frying temperatures (frying at higher temperatures does NOT decrease frying time) 
  • Never place a basket in the oil without using a timer 
  • After placing the first basket in oil, allow 30 seconds before dropping the second basket into the same vat
  • Program an alarm to remind cooks to shake the basket during the cooking cycle  

After Frying:  

  • Drain/shake the basket over the vat 
  • Skim the vat regularly throughout the day 
  • Top-up oil throughout the day 
  • Use ‘night’ covers (to prevent debris falling into the oil and reduce contact time with light) 
  • Test quality of oil at least once daily (after the daily filtration/clean) 
  • Proactively filter the vats during the day (the more often the better) 
  • Use the ‘idle’ feature when the fryer is not in use 
  • Change filter paper daily 
  • Polish oil daily 

Step 4: Monitoring Oil Quality

As summarised by Murray Carlyon, Managing Director at Klipspringer, there are three overarching reasons to monitor oil quality.  

Firstly, to reduce costs and wastage. An effective oil monitoring system results in significant savings, both economically (costs) and environmentally (wastage). Instead of discarding perfectly usable oil – a costly and unsustainable outcome – businesses are now using Food Oil Monitors for maximum accuracy. For a minimal upfront cost, these monitors offer a comfortable ROI, usually within just six months. Click here to read about how Whitbread’s use of a Food Oil Monitor reduced their oil consumption by up to 52% across their 1,200 different venues 

Secondly, to maintain product consistency. Most kitchens change their oil either based on colour (when it goes dark/black, using single-use test strips and a simplistic colour chart) or schedule (twice a week – because it has always been done that way). Led by the likes of Wasabi, McDonalds, and Five Guys, hospitality businesses seeking to distinguish themselves from the crowd are standardising the use of Food Oil Monitors to guarantee such consistent menu quality  

Thirdly, to ensure product safety. Paramount to any hospitality business is consumer welfare. As shown by the figure below, the frying process can release a variety of polar compounds (e.g. free fatty acids), which are in turn associated with acrylamide build-up. This customer-harming, cancer-causing chemical can reach dangerous levels when relying on subjective oil quality monitoring methods.  

A percentage reading of Total Polar Compounds or Total Polar Matter (TPC% / TPM%) is reliably used in the food industry as a measure of oil degradation. High levels of TPC can negatively impact product taste, texture, and appearance, as well as causing various health disorders, both short-term (e.g. gastrointestinal disorders) and long-term (e.g. risk of heart disease).  

A growing number of countries across Europe are legislating TPC percentages, typically around the 24-27% mark. While there is no existing legislation in the UK, leading companies are setting their own standards around a similar benchmark, using digital solutions to take the subjective guesswork out of monitoring oil quality.  

Step 5: Pumping and Storing Waste Oil

Watch the above clip for advice regarding pump stations, filtration, and waste oil tanks. It addresses the following questions: 

  • How do I get oil into a fryer? 
  • How do I remove waste oil from my fryer? 
  • Where do I store waste oil? 
  • How can my waste oil get collected? 
  • How can I monitor waste oil? 

Step 6: Returning Used Oil

Getting the most longevity and value out of your oil supplies is imperative for two reasons: profitability and sustainability. As one of the largest contributors to carbon footprints in commercial kitchens, oil is best suited to a circular economic system (illustrated below). Leading oil suppliers now offer the service of collecting ‘waste’ oil in the same containers it is delivered in – and they even pay for it, balancing the value of your reused oil against the costs of your fresh oil.  

Implementing these six steps will ensure that your oil quality remains compliant, consistent, and methodically conserved. Customer satisfaction will increase, costs will decrease, and your business will be more adeptly prepared to meet any sustainability targets and initiatives.  

Watch the below clip to hear Surendra Yejju, Executive Chef at Wagamama, outline how these six steps have helped teams across Wagamama venues nationwide.  

Interested in learning how other leading food and hospitality companies have benefitted from food oil monitoring?  

If you would like our support with this process or would be interested in learning more about the strategies mentioned in this article, you can contact us on 01473461800 or sales@klipspringer.com. Alternatively, you can fill out the contact form below and one of our friendly team members will be in touch. 

If you would like to learn more about food oil, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.