Palm oil is a major source of dietary fat for more than 3 billion people in 150 countries making it the most consumed edible oil in the world. It is also a major ingredient in the production of cosmetics, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. However, the Malaysian palm oil industry is challenged with environmental and nutritional issues that needs to be put on the right perspective. Very often the issues arose due to lack of awareness amongst end-users. Thus, there is an urgent need to reach out to a broader audience both locally and internationally.
The Palm Oil Educational Outreach Webinar is aimed at young adults in tertiary education institutions in our efforts to increase their knowledge and understanding on the benefits and issues related to palm oil. The webinar was focused on three core aspects of Malaysian Palm Oil; namely science, environment, and nutrition.
The second 2021 Palm Oil Educational Outreach Webinar was held on 17 June. In this event, MPOC collaborated with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). The event commenced with a welcoming remark by Prof. Ts. Dr. Wan Aida Wan Mustapha, Deputy Dean (Undergraduate), Faculty of Science and Technology, UKM. It was then followed by presentations from 4 speakers and also a Q&A session. This was followed by a forum on Career Opportunities in Palm Oil Industry, moderated by the Director of Science, Environment and Sustainability, MPOC. An online quiz was held at the end of the webinar to encourage students’ participation.
Papers presented in the half-day webinar include:
- “Overview of Palm Oil Processing Industry” by Ir. Hong Wai Onn, Novozymes Sdn. Bhd.
- “Nutritional Attributes and Food Uses of Palm Oil” by Dr Kanga Rani Selvaduray, Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
- “Introduction to Downstream Products of Oleochemical” by Mr Tewarajan A/L Malayia, Natural Oleochemicals Sdn Bhd.
- “Should We Boycott Palm Oil?” by Mr Anthony K Veerayan, Malaysian Palm Oil Council.
During the forum on career opportunities in the palm oil industry, there was much interest as many employment-related questions were discussed. The webinar was attended by 215 online participants.
Prior to this webinar, a palm-based food product development exhibition was organised for third-year students of the Food Science Programme, Faculty of Science and Technology, UKM. The food product development exhibition is a part of their core subject, Food Product Development (STKM3113). In this subject, students were introduced to several phases; from idea creation or product design to prototype or pilot scale development to development of new creative products. In addition, students are also expected to perform nutritional composition analysis, quality control, packaging design, labelling and costing of the new innovated products.
MPOC assisted UKM by providing palm-based ingredients for the project and to sponsor the prizes. A total of 7 groups participated in the product demonstration and presentation sessions on 14 June 2021. A 2-minute video montage was prepared by each group and presented during the webinar. A total of seven innovative food products were developed by the students such as palm-based yoghurt, palm-based mayo slice, palm-based kaya spread, red palm oil herbs spread, palm-based mustard-like sauce, palm-based pepperoni and also carotenoid chocodol. The winners were announced at the end of the webinar.