What is palm oil and why is it so popular?

What is palm oil and why is it so popular?

Modern food manufacturing companies need to offer products that are tastier, have better textures and last much longer. One of the vital ingredients that makes this possible is palm oil. The big question is: what is palm oil? It is an edible vegetable oil extracted from the fruit of the Elaeis guineensis tree. These trees can only be grown in regions close to the equator as they need a sustainable source of sunlight throughout the year. They can grow up to 20 meters (66 feet) tall with leaves up to 5 meters (16.40 feet) long. Palm oil has revolutionized the food industry as the oil crop with the highest yield per hectare cultivated. Each tree is capable of producing about 40 kilograms of oil each year. That is 4 to 10 times more than other types of oil crops such as sunflower, canola or olive oil.

Produced for thousands of years

Although in the modern era olive oil has played a key role in sustainable food production, its benefits have been enjoyed for millennia. There are records confirming that around 5,000 years ago palm oil was already being cultivated in regions of East and Southeast Africa. This oil has become very popular in many cultures because its semi-solid consistency and long-term stability make it the perfect ingredient. Another great advantage of palm oil is that it is colorless and odorless. Thus, it does not alter the appearance or aroma of food products that include it among their ingredients. Many people are unaware that the vast majority of food products found in supermarkets use palm oil as a key ingredient. For example, that creamy and delicious chocolate that we spread on bread can only get that texture through palm oil.

Keeps the global economy lubricated

Palm oil is used in a wide variety of food products. Its chemical properties help improve textures and flavors, as well as extend shelf life. However, the benefits of palm oil are also used in other types of products such as soaps, shampoos, lotions and cosmetic products. It is also employed in the production of biodiesels. Palm oil is used to produce both methyl ester and hydrodeoxygenated biodiesel. This makes it possible to produce more efficient, less polluting and more affordable vegetable fuels. Palm oil not only contributes to the local economy of those countries that produce it. Due to the wide variety of uses of this wonderful oil, the global economy is in constant motion. There is no other oil crop that offers this versatility, making palm oil the only option that makes sustained economic development viable for the world’s population.