. What is Palm Oil? » Sustainable Malaysian Palm Oil

What is Palm Oil?

palm fruit

Palm oil is derived from the flesh of the fruit of the oil palm species E. Guineensis. In its virgin form, the oil is bright orange-red due to the high content of carotene. Palm oil is Nature’s Gift to Malaysia, and Malaysia’s to the World.

Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature; a characteristic brought about by its approx. 50 percent saturation level. Palm oil (and its products) has good resistance to oxidation and heat at prolonged elevated temperatures; hence, making palm oil an ideal ingredient in frying oil blends. Manufacturers and end-users around the world incorporate high percentages of palm oil in their frying oil blends for both performance and economic reasons.

In fact, in many instances, palm oil has been used as 100 percent replacement for traditional hydrogenated seed oils such as soybean oil and canola. Products fried in palm oil include potato chips, french fries, doughnuts, Ramen noodles and nuts.

Palm Fruit Oil vs. Palm Kernel Oil

Palm oil is obtained from the flesh (“mesocarp”) of the oil palm fruit. Like olive oil, palm oil is a fruit oil. Palm oil should not be mistaken for palm kernel oil which is extracted from the kernel or seed of the palm fruit.

Therefore, the oil palm fruit is unique. From the fruit two distinct types of oils are produced – palm oil and palm kernel oil. Both are edible oils but with very different chemical composition, physical properties and applications. Each palm fruit produces about 90% palm oil and 10% palm kernel oil

Fat Content and Nutritional Facts

Palm oil has a balanced composition of both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Coupled with nature’s gift of high vitamin E content, the oil is naturally very stable.

Palm oil contains an equal proportion of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. It’s particularly rich in the saturated palmitic acid (44%), with substantial amounts of the monounsaturated oleic acid (40%), and smaller amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (10%).

Palm oil has had a history of food use of over 5,000 years, and this major oil in the world’s oils and fats trade is currently consumed in over 130 countries worldwide.