A study group from Scotland is optimistic that they may have come up with the “holy grail” replacement for palm oil.
It is believed that over half of all of the food and cosmetic products that can be found on the shelves of supermarkets contain palm oil.
The extremely high demand has resulted in massive deforestation in regions close to the equator that are suitable for the growth of oil palm plants.
Food scientists at Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh have discovered a novel component that is 100% derived from plants and is 70% more beneficial to the environment.
They are also praising PALM-ALT as a much healthier alternative because it contains 80% less saturated fat and 30% less calories than its competitors.
“It’s the holy grail to replace it and still have exactly the same end result in product – to taste the same and have the texture the same,” said Catriona Liddle, one of the lead developers on the QMU team. “And we’ve done that,” she said.
“We put it through some special sensory testing to see if a panel can tell the difference between our product and traditional palm shortening, and they can’t.” “We’ve put it through some special sensory testing.”
The new PALM-ALT product is said to have the consistency of mayonnaise, according to the description.
It does not contain any palm or coconut oil and does not have any additional flavorings, sugar, sweeteners, preservatives, or colorings added to it.
In addition to natural fiber and rapeseed oil, it also contains a by-product derived from the linseed manufacturing process.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), palm oil continues to be the most widely produced vegetable oil in the world, accounting for forty percent of the total production.
Because of its many applications, it has garnered a lot of attention from the food and cosmetics industries. It has no fragrance, taste, or color, and it does not change the way that items smell, taste, or look in any way.
Instead, it makes the texture smoother and also acts as a natural preservative in the food. In addition to this, its qualities are not altered by high temperatures, which makes it an excellent ingredient for cooking.
It is utilized in a wide variety of products, including but not limited to chocolate, shampoo, pizza, toothpaste, and deodorant.
The amount of land that is used for the cultivation of palm oil has expanded about nine-fold, from 3.3 million hectares (eight million acres) in 1970 to 28.7 million hectares in 2020. The majority of the land used for palm oil cultivation is located in Indonesia and Malaysia.
According to one report, the global palm oil business is expected to be worth $62.3 billion (£51.2 billion) in the year 2021. Because of the persistent rise in demand, it is anticipated that by the year 2028, this number will have increased to $75.7 billion.
In an interview for the program “Good Morning Scotland” on BBC Radio, Catriona Liddle stated, “Palm oil is used as a fat in the food industry, but it also gives you texture and it has a good shelf life.”
Because of its many uses, it is an important component in many baked goods, particularly those involving the baking process.
Unreplaceable up until this point?
The QMU team now has an application for an international patent for PALM-ALT pending, and they are planning to begin conversations with potential manufacturers. This may signal a turning point in the situation.
Ms. Liddle stated that “we’ve started off with bakery products,” which included bread, cakes, and biscuits. These are all items that people enjoy eating but that aren’t exactly great for their health.
We have developed a product that contains about 80% less saturated fat and 30% less calories than palm oil itself, making it a product that is a great deal more beneficial to one’s health.
In terms of carbon emissions, it is also approximately 70 percent more beneficial to the environment.
It is quite exciting for us because we are now looking into having discussions with individuals about manufacturing the device.
What exactly is palm oil, and why exactly is it considered to be harmful?
It is economical to produce, and there are a variety of other reasons why it is preferred over other oils for usage in a variety of applications, including food and other items.
However, the production of some palm oil is a major contributor to the destruction of the natural environment.
The fruit of the African oil palm is where palm oil is derived from. It can be found in a wide variety of the items that we use, ranging from cosmetics like shampoos and soaps to foods like cereal and cookies.
Many people who care about the environment believe that the cultivation of oil palm trees is very harmful to the world.
Deforestation is the process of cutting down forests and trees in order to clear land so that it can be used for something else.
Between the years 1990 and 2008, it is estimated that extraction of palm oil was responsible for around 8% of the world’s total deforestation.
This happens because people set fire to forests in order to clear land so that it can be used for the cultivation of oil palms, even though doing so is against the law.
When woods are burned in this manner, the habitats in which plants and animals dwell are eradicated, which results in a decrease in the area’s biodiversity.
Orangutans, rhinoceroses, elephants, and tigers are among the species that could be impacted.