Palm oil is the most widely-used vegetable oil in the world. Palm fruit oil, generally known as palm oil, is produced from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm tree (Elaeis Guineensis). This tropical fruit is reddish in colour because of a high beta-carotene content. The fruit is about the size of a large olive. The fruit has a single seed or kernel, which is used to produce palm kernel oil. Each palm fruit contains about 30-35 per cent oil. Palm fruit oil and palm kernel oil differ significantly in their fatty acid composition, but have the same botanical origin.

sustainable palm oil

Provided by nature

The oil palm tree grows in regions around the equator. It is a tropical tree with leaves about 5 metres long. Originally found in West africa, the oil palm tree is now mostly cultivated in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s largest palm oil-producing nations.

From a tropical climate

Nature plays a big part in the palm oil story. What the tree loves above all, is sun and humidity. It thrives on plenty of sunshine, temperatures ranging between 24 and 32 degrees centigrade and rainfall evenly distributed throughout the year. Therefore, the most suitable areas for cultivation are located between ten degrees north and south from the equator. Apart from Indonesia and Malaysia there is an increase in palm oil production in other parts of the world including South and Central America, Thailand and Western Africa.

Did you know? 

  • Palm oil and palm kernel oil represent 38 per cent of the global vegetable oil production.
  • 62 million tons of palm oil is produced annually.
  • One palm tree produces 40 kilogrammes of palm oil every year.
  • One hectare of oil palm trees produce on average 3.8 tons of oil each year.
  • Oil palm accounts for 7 per cent of all the cultivated land for vegetable oils globally, but has the highest output, producing 38 per cent of all oils and fats.
  • Indonesia and Malaysia supply 85 per cent of the palm oil used globally.
  • In Indonesia and Malaysia together, approximately 4.5 million people earn a living from palm oil.
  • The use of palm oil in human nutrition dates back 10,000 years.