Compared to soya, sunflower, canola, corn and other polyunsaturated oils, palm oil remains semi solid at room temperature. This is due to its high melting point and hence it can be fractionated into various liquid and solid components with different characteristics. The liquid fraction called palm olein is mainly used as frying oil and the solid fraction called the stearin is used in chocolate, margarine, shortening and many other solid fat based food products.
Palm oil has a balance fatty acid profile with equal proportions of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The presence of 50% saturated fatty acids directly contributes to its stability and in addition, the prescence of a low level (11%) of unstable linolenic acid further enhances this attribute. Superior stability ensures that foods which are fried in palm oil or formulated using palm fat can achieved a shelf life of up to 12 months without the need for hydrogenation.
- Richness in phytonutrients
Palm oil has one of the richest sources of phytonutrients amongst edible oils of plant origin. In its crude form, palm oil contains up to 600ppm of carotenoids and 800-850 ppm of vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) which are excellent antioxidants. These pyhtonutrients not only add nutritional value to palm oil but it naturally protects the fatty acids from oxidation which contributes to its superior oxidative stability.
- Natural solid fats free of trans fatty acids
Unlike palm oil, polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower, soyabean, corn and unsatureted oils have very limited application for solid fat food products because of their low melting point. In most cases, they would have to be modified by hydrogenation to generate solid fats and this process is quite undesirable due to formation of trans fatty acids. In the case of palm oil, natural solid fats are easily available by direct physical separation process of fractionation which are more efficient and cost effective and does not generate trans fats or any negative impact
- Non seasonal Crop (available all year round)
Unlike most other competing edible oil crops, palm oil is a perennial crop. It bears fruit all year round without any gaps or major low periods in between. The fruits at the plantation are harvested on a daily basis and the mills and refineries are running all year round, thus ensuring a continuous supply of palm oil at any time of the year, minimising the risk of edible oil shortage.
- Cost effectiveness.
The cost of raw material is the single most important aspect in any business enterprise. High cost raw materials would translate into high cost of production which would ultimately be passesd on to the consumers. It is a known fact that palm oil has been the most affordable edible oil among oil crops and in the event of any price increase amongst edible oils, the price movement has always been in tandem with each other. And all along, palm oil has been selling at a discount to soybean and sunflower oil.
- Sustainably produced.
Today, the issues of global warming and environmental degradation have become a very significant issue among world nations and have directly influenced international trade. The Malaysian palm oil industry has taken a very proactive approach to ensure that our palm oil industry is run and managed in a sustainable manner. We have put in placed certification schemes and good agricultural and production practices at every level (upstream and downstream) to minimise emission and reduce waste.
- The most productive oil crop
A hectare of oil palm can yeild in excess of 4-6 metric tons of palm oil and palm kernel oil per year. This is 8-10 times more than soya, sunflower and rapeseed. Due to this high productivity output, less land areas are needed to produce the same amount of oil as those from soya or sunflower. This would allow for optimum usage of land for other agricultural and non-agricultural activities.