There are several types of oleaginous plants from which oil is extracted: olive oil, soybean oil, corn oil, avocado oil and so on. These types of oils have their advantages and disadvantages, but none of them can beat the benefits of palm oil. This oil is obtained from fruits extracted from a plant called Elaeis guineensis. These fruits are usually about 4 cm long and a single plant can produce about 40 kg of oil per year. Compared to other oil plants, palm oil can produce 4 to 10 times more oil per hectare planted. In addition, it is the only edible vegetable oil capable of withstanding up to 300 degrees Celsius before it evaporates. This makes it a key ingredient in the production of a wide variety of products, ranging from food such as mayonnaise, ice cream and chocolate, to personal care products, cleaning products and biofuels.
What does this oil add to products?
Years ago, hydrogenation was often used to achieve the texture and flavour of a wide range of food products. Because of the characteristics of palm oil, it is unnecessary to hydrogenate its products. Hydrogenation promotes the production of trans-fatty acids in foods, which in turn contributes to an increase of bad cholesterol, known as LDL. Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and clogged veins are known to be directly related to excessive LDL in the blood. Products such as pasta, dressings, cakes, and even powdered milk are healthier for human consumption thanks to palm oil. Do you like the crispy and crunchy texture of fried foods? Only this oil can achieve it, thanks to its high heat resistance. However, despite all its benefits, there are still people who think that this oil harms the environment.
Because there is no other oil plant with the same production capacity as palm oil, many rival companies have created disinformation campaigns to discredit the use of palm oil. It is often claimed, that farmers are destroying orangutan habitats by increasing palm oil production every year. What is not said is that this increase in production is not linked to the deforestation of areas in order to have more land for planting, but to the fact that coffee and rubber farmers have migrated to oil palms. In addition, organisations such as the European Palm Oil Alliance and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil help small farmers to improve the production capacity of their land by providing them with the latest technologies.