• Lecithin Food

Soy Lecithin vs Sunflower Lecithin: What Makes Them Different?

Lecithin has multifunctional properties that fit the needs of various manufacturing industries. Its exceptional properties of emulsifying and stabilizing a mixture create its high demand in the production market. 

This lubricant nutrient can be found in various natural sources. Sunflower seeds and soybeans are among the top sources of lecithin derivation. The industry is under constant debate on which one is more beneficial. 

Here, we will give you an in-depth comparison of soy and sunflower lecithin. Knowing about the crucial components of both lecithin types can help you choose the right lecithin for your manufacturing business.

Why Should You Know About the Comparison?

Every manufacturer has specific standards of quality to meet. With constantly increasing competition in the market, all manufacturers are striving to become sustainable. That makes using high-quality ingredients a pivotal part of their production process.

That is why it is important for the production in-charge to understand the unique attributes that lecithin from different sources offer. Since sunflower and soy lecithin are among the most widely used lecithin types, We have focused this piece on explaining their differentiating attributes.

Hopefully, this knowledge will help you decide which lecithin type is better suited for your business’s success.

1. The Extraction Method

Soy Lecithin

The process of extraction of lecithin is one of the significant differences between the two. The lecithin from soybeans is acquired through the degumming process, where gums are hydrated from the crude soy oil by adding a calculated amount of water. Then, the hydrated gums are further processed with chemical solvents like hexane to separate non-soluble phosphatides.

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin, on the other hand, is extracted through a cold-press procedure. Sunflowers seeds are dehydrated, resulting in gum, solids, and oil separation. The lecithin is extracted from the separated gums. No chemical solvent is required here, which makes sunflower lecithin more natural compared to soy lecithin.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Soy Lecithin

Finding cost-effective solutions is a major concern of manufacturing businesses. Since soy lecithin is a by-product of the soybean oil manufacturing process, it makes soy lecithin a much more economical lecithin variant for mass-producing manufacturers. Soybeans also contain the most considerable amount of lecithin among all-natural sources. 

Sunflower Lecithin

Because it is not a by-product, and the cold pressing method is costlier, the sunflower lecithin is pricier comparatively. Also, the sunflower seeds don’t contain as much lecithin as soybeans. Nonetheless, sunflower lecithin does have similar properties to soy lecithin. 

3. Allergens in Lecithin

Soy Lecithin

Soybean proteins are known to have allergens. A considerable amount of soy protein in any product can trigger allergic reactions in consumers. While it remains to be a common ingredient in processed foods, potential allergic reactions from its consumption still make it impracticable for businesses. People with hormonal issues are also advised to avoid soy products.

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin is a proven alternative for people who are allergic to soy, as it carries no amount of allergens. That is what makes it a safer and healthier option, especially for processed food manufacturing industries. 

4. Storage of Lecithin

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is hydrophilic. It means that it can be easily mixed with water molecules. This makes it vulnerable to moisture. Thus, soy lecithin requires a controlled temperature storage room where it can maintain its properties and avoid oxidation.

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin also requires a temperature-controlled environment to be stored. Storing it below 25 degrees can prolong its shelf life, all the while maintaining its quality. Both soy and sunflower lecithin can be used up to 24 months after opening their IBC standard packaging.

5. Physical Attributes

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is yellowish-brown in colour with a thick viscous consistency. As a small amount is added to a product, the colour of the lecithin does not affect the overall shade of any mixture.

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin is of dark amber to brown colour. It is less dense than soy lecithin, and also holds a weaker smell. It has higher phosphatidylcholine content as well. 

6. Impact on Hormones

Soy Lecithin

Depending on the current hormonal level of the consumer, soy lecithin is known to increase estrogen levels. People who have imbalanced hormonal levels are, therefore, recommended to avoid soy lecithin intake. 

Sunflower Lecithin

Whereas, sunflower lecithin only has a minor effect on imbalanced hormones making it a better choice for food and pharmaceutical products.

Similarities Between Soy and Sunflower Lecithin

While both types of lecithin can be used as emulsifiers, stabilizers, viscosity modifiers, anti-oxidants, shelf life extenders, and nutritional supplements, soy lecithin is better suited for non-consumables.

Both, soy and sunflower lecithin can be procured in different forms, including granules, liquid, de-oiled powders, and proteins. Since both types of lecithin are plant-based lecithin, they can be easily used in manufacturing vegan products like food and cruelty-free cosmetic products. 

Which Lecithin is More Natural?

Soybeans are mostly genetically modified and extracted with the use of chemical solvents. It is also called processed waste. Contrastingly, sunflower lecithin is extracted through cold pressing, making it a more natural emulsifier than soy lecithin. 

Sunflower lecithin is also healthier as it does not carry any allergens, unlike soy lecithin. It also contains a higher amount of choline as compared to soy lecithin. But vast commercial production of soy lecithin is mainly due to its economic factor.

Choosing the Type of Lecithin for Your Business

Both sunflower and soy lecithin can be used interchangeably. The type of product(s) you manufacture can better define the right type of lecithin for your business. If you are looking for a cheaper option, soy lecithin is recommended. You must, however, bring into account, all of its shortcomings. We recommend soy lecithin for non-consumable products. 

For edible manufacturers, sunflower lecithin is a more suitable choice as it has lower allergens risk and is considered a non-GMO product entirely. 

Lecitein Limited; Your Sustainable Business Solution

The type of lecithin you add can significantly impact the quality of the final product. If you are looking for a sustainable lecithin provider, LECITEIN is your worry-free one-stop. We understand these are trying times. The COVID-19 threat just lowered and we found the world indulged in the Ukraine war. Both uncertainties have terribly disturbed the global supply of lecithin. 

Fortunately, LECITEIN keeps itself well-stocked all the time, so the business of our clients doesn’t suffer. If you are struggling to find a consistent supply of soy lecithin or sunflower lecithin, do not hesitate in contacting us

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