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10 products that palm oil helps make extraordinary

Posted: May 14, 2017 3 minute read SMART 0 Likes

You’ve probably heard that palm oil is an ingredient for about half of all products that you buy in the supermarket. Ever wondered why?

That’s because of its extraordinary qualities. It is:

  • Smooth and creamy – palm oil makes our spreads spreadable, our toffees chewy and our ice cream creamy
  • Very land efficient – you might be able to use a different vegetable oil to do the same job, but you’d need a lot more land, pesticides and fertiliser to do so
  • Free from trans-fats – palm oil is naturally free from harmful trans-fats, which is a key source of high cholesterol and is linked to heart disease
  • Cost-efficient – palm oil has a key role in keeping our favourite foods affordable and on the shelf
  • Tasteless and odourless – tasteless and odourless – makes it easy for chefs to incorporate in a variety of recipes

Let’s look at some of those products in greater detail.

Chocolate and chocolate spread

Palm oil is free of tastes and smells, it’s spreadable at room temperature and has a smooth, creamy texture. This makes it the perfect ingredient for chocolates and chocolate spreads. Right now palm oil is:

  1. Creating that creamy centre in your favourite chocolate truffle
  2. Stopping chocolate from melting in hot climates
  3. Making your chocolate spread spreadablechocolate


Palm oil is free from colours, tastes and it holds onto a colour pretty well. Combine that with the fact that it won’t melt at body temperature and you’ve pretty much got the best ingredient you could hope for in a lipstick. Palm oil makes our lipsticks:

  1. Easy to apply and remove
  2. Hold colours that pop with glossy textures
  3. Stay in place when we want them to!lpstick

Margarine and butter spread

Palm oil has a special role in our margarines and butters – it makes them spreadable and stops them from sliding off your toast! Palm oil keeps our spreads:

  1. Free from harmful trans-fats
  2. Spreadable straight out of the fridge
  3. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians



Palm oil helps to keep our skin clean and moisturised, making it an ideal ingredient for our soaps. Palm oil keeps our soaps:

  1. Solid in the soap dish
  2. Smooth and supple
  3. Colourful and fragrant when we want it, clean and simple when we don’tfragrant


Struggling to replicate the ideal texture combination of crunchy and soft found in pre-bought cookies? That might be because you’re not using palm oil. Palm oil is what makes our cookies:

  1. Crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside
  2. Free from potentially harmful trans-fatscookie

Instant noodle

If you buy pre-cooked instant noodles to save time and energy cooking dinner, you can thank palm oil for that. It is palm oil that enables the raw noodles to be pre-cooked, dried and stored in advance, so that all you need to do is add water and bring to boil. Palm oil means our noodles:

  1. Have a long shelf life
  2. Cook quickly
  3. Vegetarian-friendly



Palm oil is an active conditioning agent included in many shampoos. So, if you have soft and silky hair, it may be due to palm oil. Palm oil is what makes your hair:

  1. Clean, fresh and healthy
  2. Silky and smooth
  3. Free from dry, split ends


Palm oil is a key ingredient in much of the biodiesel we put into our cars. Getting where we need to go on time and with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, is partly because of palm oil. Biodiesel, produced from established plantations where peatland is well protected, means that our transport systems:

  1. Produce fewer climate change emissions
  2. Are less vulnerable to changes in the price of fossil fuels
  3. Benefit from cleaner-running enginesbiodiesel

Laundry detergent

Palm oil is what we use to produce ‘sodium lauryl sulphate’, an effective foaming agent, used in laundry detergent to keep our clothes clean. That means our laundry detergents:

  1. Foam when in contact with water
  2. Clean our clothes evenly and thoroughly
  3. Leave our clothes fresh and odourlessdetergent

Bread and pastry

Palm oil shortening is used in baking to improve the spring, weight, density and texture of bread. Palm oil ensures the centre of the bread remains light and fluffy while the outer crust develops as it is solid at room temperature and melts when in the oven. Including palm oil in the baking process means bread is:

  1. Fluffy and springy in texture
  2. Vegetarian-friendly
  3. Inexpensive

Click here to discover stories behind the extraordinary, everyday lives of the people transforming palm oil.

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