What Are the Different Uses of Palm Oil?

Malcolm Tatum

Palm oil is a product that is used in a number of settings. The product may be used for home cooking as well as being an ingredient in a number of packaged food products. In recent years, the product has also been the focus of efforts to make use of natural oil products as a means of creating blends of biofuels that can aid in reducing the world’s dependency on petroleum products such as gasoline. While declared as unhealthy by some national health associations, multiple uses of palm oil continues to be common in many countries around the world.

Potato chips are often cooked in palm oil.
Potato chips are often cooked in palm oil.

One of the most basic uses of palm oil has to do with the preparation of fried foods. At home and in many restaurants around the world, the oil is used for deep-frying meats and various types of vegetables. Proponents of this use of palm oil note that the product helps to create a pleasant golden brown appearance for fried chicken, okra, and other foods that are battered and deep-fried. In a number of nations, using palm oil for cooking is also common because of the additional flavor the oil provides to the food.

Palm oil is praised for its golden brown color.
Palm oil is praised for its golden brown color.

The uses of palm oil also extend to the preparation of packaged foods that are sold in supermarkets and other types of retail businesses. Snack foods such as potato chips are often prepared using this type of oil, along with prepackaged cheese and cracker products. A number of frozen entrees include the use of palm oil as one of the ingredients. It is even possible to purchase frozen desserts such as ice cream, packaged cakes, and even pudding products that include the oil as one of the main ingredients.

Palm oil is often used for deep-frying foods.
Palm oil is often used for deep-frying foods.

Food products are not the only uses of palm oil. Efforts to develop viable alternatives to fossil fuels have led to an increasing interest in the ability to create biofuels that include palm oil as part of a viable formula. Typically, this will mean combining the oil with corn oil and other materials to create those environmentally friendly fuel products, producing an end product that slows the drain on fossil fuels that cannot be renewed in a generation or two. While the production cost of these alternative fuels is historically high, the relatively low cost of palm oil is considered one way of reducing the expense associated with creating fuel alternatives and may aid in increasing the mass production of biofuel products. With more interest in this product emerging, there is a good chance that the uses of palm oil will expand into other areas as time goes on.

Scientists are working to develop environmentally-friendly fuel products by combining palm oil and corn oil.
Scientists are working to develop environmentally-friendly fuel products by combining palm oil and corn oil.

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