Discussing the methods used for producing edible oil, oleochemicals and even fuel products from oil palm starting from cultivating a single palm tree to finished products. Also news and updates on world palm oil industry and latest applications.
15/06/2010 (FnB News) - UK-based AAK, part of AarhusKarlshamn group and supplier of edible oils and fats, has introduced a new product to help commercial bakers meet consumer demand for sustainable palm oil in their food.
The company has redeveloped its "Akofluid Pumpable Shortening," which is a blend of rapeseed and palm oils.
The product's palm oil content was fully certified as being from sustainable sources. It would offer additional benefits such as reduced waste packaging and handling costs and would help meet the FSA's guidelines on saturated fat content, the company said.
AAK has been supplying RSPO certified sustainable palm oil to European manufacturers since November 2008, and has since worked continuously with customers to research and develop products suitable for various manufacturing applications. Judith Murdoch of AAK, said, "Akofluid is the product many bakers & food manufacturers have been waiting for as not only does it offer several clear benefits, including saturated fat reduction, but it also means they can show consumers they are playing their part in tackling the problems associated with unsustainable palm oil."
The company also claims that the new product had already become popular for its fat reduction properties.
The use of liquid oils, which contain lower levels of saturated fat than palm oil, means Akofluid's saturated fat content is as low as 15% - less than half that typically found in standard block shortening or bread fats, the company said in a press release. "Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of palm oil production on the rain forests in Asia and the subsequent threat to endangered species such as the orang-utan. Palm oil is present in about 40% of supermarket items, from bread and confectionery to soap and detergents and many of these products use a blend or fraction of palm that is not currently available in a sustainable form," Murdoch said.
The new product is developed for use in cake mixes and short-crust pastry for pie and quiche bases. "Until now, the shortening used in many pastries and breads has fallen into that category, which is why it was a priority for AAK to develop a sustainable version of our Akofluid Pumpable," he added.
Global Palm's Executive Chairman and CEO Dr Suparno Adijanto said the company expects demand for palm oil to maintain its strength supported by rising food requirements from China, India and emerging markets.
He added that there will also be demand from the biofuel, oleochemicals and compound feed industries.
Looking ahead, the company remains confident of the global demand for palm oil and is focusing on two key areas to drive future growth.
It intends to double the size of its current cultivated oil palm plantation land within the next three years by developing existing uncultivated land banks, and by acquiring other oil palm plantations.
It has earmarked about S$30 million of the proceeds raised from its Initial Public Offering for expansion.
In addition, it is also reviewing its cost structure to achieve a cost-competitive model in the long-run.
Early this month, the San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network (RAN) published a scathing report linking agribusiness giant Cargill, Inc., the leading U.S. importer of palm oil, to rainforest destruction. Cargill sells oil to large food companies like General Mills, Nestle, and Kraft. RAN followed up with a demonstration at Cargill's Minnesota headquarters, during which seven protestors were hauled away by police.
RAN accuses Cargill of violating the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an eco-certification group that includes members from the industry (Cargill is a prominent one) and environmental organizations. Of the many charges in the report, the most surprising is an allegation that Cargill, in addition to owning two large palm plantations in Indonesia, secretly owns and operates two other plantations that are clearing and burning rainforests. The report also says the company is buying additional palm oil from companies "closely associated" with rainforest clear-cutting.
"Cargill is trying to have their cake and eat it too," said Leila Salazar-Lopez, campaign coordinator for RAN. "While Cargill is proclaiming their commitments to RSPO standards, they're going ahead and doing whatever they want to rainforests, waterways, and community lands."
Cargill responded with a statement entitled "Cargill Sets the Record Straight on False Accusations Made by RAN."
"The title pretty much sums it up," Lori Johnson, a Cargill spokeswoman, said in an interview. "There are a lot of allegations in the report, but none of them are true. Some of the accusations are simply ludicrous, like we have secret plantations some place. The answer to that's just no."
In a response to Cargill's denial, RAN stood firm. "No one wishes more than we do that Cargill wasn't destroying rainforests. Pictures and maps don't lie, however," the organization said in a press release. "We stand by the evidence released in our report that Cargill's plantations in Indonesia are cutting down rainforests, violating the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and are out of compliance with Indonesian law."
What's a conscientious consumer to do? Amid this flurry of accusations and counter-accusations, it's important to remember one fundamental truth. The palm oil industry in general still has a long way to go before it can be called sustainable. Palm oil may be good for our circulatory systems, but there's no denying that it's wreaking havoc on the environment.