When you walk into the supermarket you don’t always think about what is in the products. Take palm oil, for example. Palm oil is found in almost 50 percent of all products in the supermarket, but then the question is what is palm oil? Palm oil is a vegetable oil. For example, it is used in biscuits so that you stay crunchy for longer. It is also in, for example, margarine that you spread on your bread in the morning. Why is palm oil used in so many products? That’s because it’s a very efficient plant to grow.

How is palm oil made?

Palm oil comes from the oil palm. This tree bears red orange fruit from which the oil is made. The tree can grow up to 5 meters high when fully grown. However, it only starts bearing fruit after 4 years. The fruits grow in large clusters, which means that a lot can be harvested quickly. The fruits are then steamed and the pit is removed. Then the pulp of the fruit is compressed and the oil comes out. A lot of palm oil can also be extracted from one hectare of land. About 35 percent of all vegetable oils used around the world are made from palm oil, and of all the agricultural land there is for vegetable oil production, only ten percent is used for oil palm. In addition to being very efficient, it is also used in many products. However, there is one problem and that is the unsustainable way of producing this oil. In the unsustainable way, a lot of deforestation takes place, which affects nature. If the production of the oil is 100 percent sustainable, that would mean that there is no longer any need for deforestation.

Facts about the oil palm and oil

Some nice things about palm oil and the oil palm, for example, is that one tree can produce up to 40 kilograms of oil per year and an acre of oil palms produces an average of 3.8 tons of palm oil per year. As I just mentioned, palm oil production only takes up ten percent of all agricultural land that is exempted for the production of vegetable oils, but 35 percent of all vegetable oils used are made from palm oil. That makes this plant the most efficient way of producing vegetable oil. Of all palm oil that is produced, 85 percent of all oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia.