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What Is the Palm Oil Industry?

Article Details
  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 January 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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The palm oil industry is responsible for all aspects of palm oil production, including growing the palms, extracting the oil, refining it, transporting it throughout the global marketplace, and developing new uses for the product. This oil is edible in its pure form and is often extracted from more than one type of palm fruit. Palm oil is mostly used in food products, both for animals and humans, though it can also be used as a biofuel. The palm oil industry is also responsible for highlighting the benefits of using this type of oil so that the various companies involved in the industry can remain profitable.

There are many countries and companies around the world that participate in various parts of the palm oil industry. Much of the oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, among other tropical nations. Once it has been produced, the oil is transported around the world and used in a variety of products, especially in foods. Since palm oil is one of the most common oils in the food industry, most countries consume many products that have palm oil in them.

Coconut and oil palms are grown on large plantations in tropical nations. The palm oil industry uses three different oils that come from these trees, coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, the latter two of which are produced by the oil palm. One of the oils comes from the seed and the other from the pulp of the fruit. All three of these oils can be used in food products or as biofuel, though the higher cost of palm kernel oil makes it less economical as a source of fuel. Once the oil is extracted, other areas of the palm oil industry refine it and transport it around the world.

In order to remain profitable, the palm oil industry must make sure that palm oil is popular and well received. The industry develops new uses for the oil, as a food additive or in the biofuel industry, and helps to keep the product surrounded by positive press. The health benefits of palm oil are often touted by the palm oil industry as a good reason to use it many different products. Palm oil contains high levels of saturated fat yet does not appear to increase the risk of heart disease.

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