Certified sustainable palm oil

What is palm oil used for?

Semi-solid at room temperature, palm oil and palm kernel oil are among the world’s most versatile raw materials. Their functional product properties remain one of the main drivers behind the rise in demand for palm oil since the 1980s. 

Crude Palm Oil

Crude palm oil, also known as red palm oil. The orange colour is due to the high beta carotene content. Western markets refine, bleach and deodorise crude palm oil, removing the beta carotene colour and flavour.

 

Industries using palm oil

Palm oil and palm kernel oil based ingredients are found in approximately 50% of products on supermarket shelves, including food and non food items. Palm oil in many countries is used as a simple frying oil, but many other markets make use of both palm and palm kernel oil: 

  • Consumer retail food and snack manufacturers

  • Personal care and cosmetics (mainly palm kernel oil)

  • Biofuel and energy 

  • Animal feed (palm kernel expeller)

  • Pharmaceutical 

  • Industrial 

  • Foodservice/service industry 


Palm kernel and palm oil uses are widely varied because they can be processed and blended to produce a vast range of products with different characteristics. The below ingredient names are found on the packaging of 50% of the products stocked on most supermarket shelves, being either palm oil or palm kernel oil based.


Palm and palm kernel oil product ingredient names

Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palm olein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hydrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol, Laureth-7, Steareth-2, Cocamide MEA (fatty acid-derived) Cocamiede DEA (fatty acid derived), Stearamidopropyldimethylamine, Cetyltrimethylammonium chloride, Isopropylmyristate, Caprylic/capric Trigylceride, Fatty Isethionates (SCI),  Alkylpolyglycoside (APG), Laurylamine oxide


For businesses, the best action is to ask suppliers to identify the type of vegetable oil used as the base for the ingredients they provide. There are some added complexities when it comes to palm kernel oil, as the product is often interchanged with coconut oil, depending on market price and availability.

The below infographic explains the different processes, products and uses of palm oil and palm kernel oil. 


Infographic: palm and palm kernel oil supply chain 


Where is palm oil grown?