PALM oil is widely used in food products due to its superior health benefits and versatility — from cooking oil to margarine, bakery fats, chocolates, confectioneries, ice cream, dairy substitutes and food supplements.
To ensure a healthy lifestyle, one must adopt a balanced diet to keep our body active and healthy.
Fat intakes at the right quantity and quality are essential for our daily dietary consumption as they provide energy, essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as impart the desired taste to our food.
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.
Chemicals that are derived from oils and fats are known as oleochemicals. It is divided into two groups; natural oleochemicals, which often refers to vegetable and animal oils and fats derived oleochemicals, and synthetic oleochemicals which are derived from petroleum. Oils and fats composed of triglycerides formed from one molecule of glycerol and three molecules of fatty acids (Figure 1). Hydrolysis of oils and fats to the corresponding fatty acids and glycerol, forms the basis of the oleochemical industry.