What is palm oil?

Palm oil is more than just your every day vegetable oil. It's packed with nutrients that contribute to your daily energy needs. Palm oil provides a valuable source of beta carotene and vitamin E. Studies have found that tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are isomers of vitamin E found in palm oil, are antioxidants and may be associated with more favorable cholesterol profiles, and lower risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. Discover for yourself what sets palm oil apart from other vegetable oils.

Palm oil and palm kernel oil is an important and versatile vegetable oil which is used as a raw material for both food and non-food industries. Obtained from the fruit (both the flesh and the kernel) of the oil palm tree, it contributes to the economic development of the producing countries and to the diets of millions of people around the world. Oil palms can grow 20 metres tall with leaves up to 5 metres long. They bear clusters of fruit all year long, with each fully matured cluster weighing up to 50kg. Oil palms are highly efficient oil producers, with each fruit containing about 50% oil. As a result they require ten times less land than other oil-producing crops. Palm oil and palm kernel oil are entirely GM free. Vegetable oil production around the world totals over 144 million tonnes per year, of which over 47 million tonnes is palm oil. Along with soy oil, palm oil makes up 60% of world production.

Where is palm oil grown?

Palm can be cultivated only in tropical areas of Asia, Africa and South America. Global demand for edible vegetable oils has grown strongly in recent decades and palm oil production has expanded rapidly to meet that demand. From the 1990s to the present time, the area under palm oil cultivation had increased by about 43%. Today, seventeen countries produce palm oil, though Malaysia and Indonesia account for 85% of global palm oil production, where 4.5 million people earn a living from palm oil.

The top five producing nations are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nigeria, Colombia. Asia, the European Union and Africa are the main importers of palm oil.

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