FAQ what is palm oil

What is palm oil?

Palm Oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. The oil is extracted from the pulp of the palm fruit, which is a reddish colour. The palm fruit has a single seed (kernel), from which palm kernel oil is extracted.

Where do I find palm oil?

More than half the products on sale in the supermarket are made with palm oil. These products include food products such as margarine, confectionery, chocolate, ice cream and bakery products, as well as non-food products such as soap, candles, and cosmetics.

How much palm oil is consumed?

In 2012, global consumption was 52 million tonnes making palm oil the most consumed oil in the world. China, India, Indonesia and the European Union are the main consumers of palm oil.

Why are food producers using palm oil?

Palm oil is semi-solid at European and North American room temperature which is needed to give structure to some food products. The saturated fatty acids present in palm oil are responsible for the semi-solid characteristic of the oil and the final food product that contains palm oil. a chocolate bar filling without saturated fat content would be liquid at room temperature.

Palm oils smooth and creamy texture and absence of smell make it a perfect ingredient in many recipes. Palm oil also has a high stability, positively impacting food product shelflife as well as providing great performance at high cooking temperatures.

What is the impact of palm oil on the environment?

If not properly managed, large-scale palm oil production can have adverse effects in palm-oil-producing countries, such as damage to valuable nature, infringements of the land rights of the local population and excessive use of pesticides.

To ensure that these adverse effects are minimised, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was set up in 2004. RSPO was started by a group of companies and NGOs to establish the first sustainability standard to certify the production and use of sustainable palm oil. More information can be found on the RSPO website.

What is sustainable palm oil?

Sustainable palm oil is produced according to a set of environmental and social criteria defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). These eight principles and 39 practical criteria have been in place since 2008 and define the sustainable production of palm oil. They ensure that fundamental rights of previous land owners, local communities, plantation workers, small farmers and their families are respected and fully taken into account, that no new primary forests or high conservation value areas have been cleared for palm oil production since November 2005, and that mills and plantation owners minimise their environmental footprint. When properly applied, these criteria help to minimise the negative consequences associated with conventional palm oil cultivation.

For more information on sustainable palm oil, please visit the RSPO website.

Are EPOA members also members of RSPO?

Yes all EPOA Member companies are also members of RSPO and have committed to the principles and criteria of RSPO.