20 Common Foods That Use Palm Oil You Should Know

Palm oil is a common ingredient found in many everyday products, from snacks to baked goods. It’s used for its versatility and long shelf life, but many people are unaware of just how prevalent it is in their diet. Understanding which foods contain palm oil can help you make more informed choices about what you eat. In this article, we’ll explore a variety of foods that use palm oil, shedding light on its widespread use.

What is Palm Oil?

Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, primarily the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). It is a highly versatile and widely used oil in food production due to its semi-solid state at room temperature, long shelf life, and stability when heated. These characteristics make it ideal for a variety of processed foods, enhancing texture, flavor, and longevity.

Palm oil is found in numerous products, ranging from snacks and baked goods to convenience foods and non-dairy creamers. Its widespread use is largely attributed to its cost-effectiveness and efficient production process, making it a preferred ingredient for many food manufacturers.

However, the production of palm oil has raised environmental and health concerns. Large-scale palm oil plantations have been linked to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, while palm oil is rich in saturated fats, excessive consumption can contribute to health issues such as heart disease. Understanding the presence of palm oil in various foods can help consumers make informed dietary choices.

20 Common Foods That Contain Palm Oil

1. Chips


Many popular brands of chips use palm oil in their production. Palm oil helps achieve the desired crispy texture and enhances the flavor of the chips. Its stability at high temperatures makes it an ideal choice for frying, ensuring the chips remain crunchy and flavorful.

Additionally, palm oil has a neutral taste that does not interfere with the seasonings, allowing the flavors to shine. The use of palm oil also extends the shelf life of the chips, maintaining their freshness over time.

2. Crackers

Crackers often contain palm oil to maintain their crispness and extend shelf life. The oil provides a desirable mouthfeel and helps achieve the right texture, making the crackers more appealing.

Palm oil’s ability to stay solid at room temperature helps keep the crackers from becoming greasy, which is important for their quality and consumer enjoyment. This stability also prevents the crackers from becoming stale quickly, ensuring they remain crunchy and tasty.

3. Cookies


Cookies are another common snack that uses palm oil. It helps create a buttery texture and improves the dough’s consistency, resulting in cookies that are soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.

Many commercial cookies rely on palm oil for its ability to remain solid at room temperature, ensuring the product doesn’t become greasy. This property is particularly important for maintaining the structural integrity and freshness of the cookies, providing a delightful eating experience.

4. Pretzels

Pretzels may also contain palm oil, particularly in the coatings and glazes that give them their characteristic shine and crunch. The oil helps in creating a uniform texture and prevents the pretzels from becoming stale quickly.

Its use in the baking process contributes to the pretzels’ desirable texture, making them a popular snack choice. The stability of palm oil helps maintain the pretzels’ quality during storage and transportation, ensuring they reach consumers in perfect condition.

5. Bread


Palm oil is frequently found in commercially produced bread. It helps improve the dough’s elasticity and stability, leading to a softer texture and longer shelf life. Bread made with palm oil tends to remain fresh for a longer period, making it a staple in many households.

The oil also enhances the bread’s volume and softness, contributing to its overall appeal. Additionally, palm oil’s neutral flavor does not overpower the taste of the bread, making it versatile for various recipes and sandwiches.

6. Pastries

Pastries, including croissants, danishes, and puff pastries, often contain palm oil. The oil contributes to the flakiness and rich texture that make these baked goods so delightful. It also helps maintain the structure and prevents the pastries from becoming too oily or dry.

Palm oil’s stability at different temperatures ensures that the pastries have a consistent quality and texture, providing a satisfying eating experience. Its use in pastry dough helps create the light, airy layers that are characteristic of these treats.

7. Cakes


Cakes, especially those produced on a large scale, use palm oil for its stability and ability to keep the cake moist. Palm oil helps create a light, airy texture and extends the cake’s shelf life, ensuring it remains soft and fresh for longer.

The oil’s ability to blend well with other ingredients enhances the overall flavor and mouthfeel of the cake. Additionally, palm oil’s consistency helps achieve the perfect crumb structure, making cakes more enjoyable and visually appealing.

8. Doughnuts

Doughnuts often contain palm oil, particularly in the frying process and in glazes or fillings. The oil ensures that the doughnuts are crispy on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy on the inside. It also helps maintain the consistency of glazes, giving them a smooth, shiny finish.

Palm oil’s high heat stability is crucial for achieving the ideal texture and taste of doughnuts, making them a beloved treat. Its use in doughnut production helps create a product that is both delicious and visually enticing.

9. Chocolate


Many types of chocolate, especially mass-produced brands, contain palm oil. Palm oil is used to achieve a smooth, creamy texture and to extend the shelf life of the product. In chocolate bars and candies, palm oil helps create a melt-in-the-mouth experience, providing a rich and luxurious feel.

It also prevents chocolate from melting too quickly at room temperature, ensuring it remains solid and appealing on store shelves and at home. The stability and consistency that palm oil provides make it an ideal ingredient for maintaining the quality and taste of chocolate products over time.

10. Candy Bars

Candy bars often rely on palm oil to enhance their texture and flavor. The oil helps bind ingredients together, giving candy bars their characteristic chewy or crunchy consistency. Palm oil also stabilizes the product, preventing it from becoming too soft or oily.

Its neutral taste allows the natural flavors of the other ingredients, such as nuts, caramel, and chocolate, to shine through without any unwanted aftertaste. By using palm oil, manufacturers can ensure that candy bars have a longer shelf life and maintain their intended taste and texture.

11. Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Ice cream manufacturers frequently use palm oil to improve the creaminess and mouthfeel of their products. Palm oil helps create a smooth texture and prevents ice crystals from forming, ensuring a consistent and enjoyable eating experience. It also enhances the richness of the ice cream, making it more indulgent and satisfying.

Additionally, palm oil extends the shelf life of ice cream by maintaining its quality and stability over time. The inclusion of palm oil in ice cream formulations helps achieve the desired creamy texture that consumers love.

12. Caramel

Caramel products, including sauces, candies, and fillings, often contain palm oil. The oil helps achieve the desired smooth and glossy consistency, making caramel easier to work with and more enjoyable to eat. Palm oil also prevents caramel from becoming too sticky or hard, ensuring a perfect balance of texture and flavor.

Its use in caramel production helps create a product that is rich, creamy, and delicious. By using palm oil, manufacturers can produce high-quality caramel that retains its desirable characteristics throughout its shelf life.

13. Pizzas


Frozen and ready-to-eat pizzas often contain palm oil, particularly in the crust and cheese. The oil helps create a crispy, golden crust and a rich, melty cheese topping. Palm oil also extends the shelf life of frozen pizzas, ensuring they remain fresh and delicious even after long periods of storage.

Its use in pizza production helps achieve the desired texture and flavor, making frozen pizzas a popular and convenient meal option. The inclusion of palm oil in pizza formulations helps maintain the overall quality and appeal of the product.

14. Frozen Snacks


Image source: Pinterest

Frozen snacks, such as pizza rolls, taquitos, and mozzarella sticks, commonly use palm oil. The oil helps achieve a crispy exterior and a flavorful filling, making these snacks appealing and enjoyable. Palm oil’s stability at high temperatures is crucial for maintaining the quality and texture of these products during frying or baking.

Its use in frozen snacks ensures that they remain delicious and satisfying even after freezing and reheating. By using palm oil, manufacturers can produce frozen snacks that deliver consistent and enjoyable eating experiences.

15. Microwaveable Meals

Microwaveable meals often contain palm oil to maintain texture and flavor during storage and reheating. The oil helps preserve the quality of sauces, gravies, and other components, ensuring they remain smooth and appetizing.

Palm oil also enhances the overall taste of microwaveable meals, making them more enjoyable and convenient for busy individuals. Its use in these products helps create a satisfying and hassle-free dining experience. The stability and consistency that palm oil provides are essential for maintaining the intended qualities of microwaveable meals.

16. Instant Noodles and Soups

Instant Noodles

Instant noodles and soups frequently use palm oil in their seasoning packets and broth bases. The oil helps dissolve the seasonings evenly, creating a rich and flavorful broth. In instant noodles, palm oil also helps achieve a desirable texture, ensuring the noodles remain firm and satisfying.

Its use in these products enhances the overall taste and convenience, making instant noodles and soups a popular choice for quick meals. The inclusion of palm oil helps maintain the intended flavor profiles and textures of instant noodle and soup products.

17. Microwaveable Popcorn

Microwaveable popcorn often contains palm oil as a primary ingredient in the butter or seasoning. The oil helps achieve a consistent and even coating on the popcorn, ensuring each kernel is flavorful and delicious. Palm oil’s high heat stability is essential for maintaining the quality of microwaveable popcorn during popping.

Its use in this popular snack helps create a product that is both tasty and convenient. By using palm oil, manufacturers can produce microwaveable popcorn that delivers the desired flavor and texture.

18. Margarine


Margarine often contains palm oil as a key ingredient due to its semi-solid state at room temperature, which helps achieve the desired spreadable consistency. Palm oil contributes to the smooth texture and rich flavor that make margarine a popular alternative to butter.

It also helps extend the shelf life of margarine, ensuring it remains fresh and usable for longer periods. The versatility of palm oil allows manufacturers to create various margarine formulations, from those suited for baking and cooking to those designed for simple spreading.

19. Non-Dairy Creamers

Non-dairy creamers, popular for adding to coffee and tea, often contain palm oil. The oil provides a creamy texture and rich mouthfeel, making beverages smooth and enjoyable. Palm oil also helps emulsify the creamer, preventing it from separating when added to hot drinks.

Additionally, the stability of palm oil at various temperatures ensures that non-dairy creamers maintain their quality and consistency over time. This makes palm oil an essential ingredient in producing non-dairy creamers that appeal to a wide range of consumers, including those who are lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet.

20. Nutritional Bars

Nutritional Bars

Nutritional bars, including energy bars and protein bars, often contain palm oil to enhance texture and extend shelf life. Palm oil helps bind the ingredients together, creating a consistent and chewy texture that is easy to eat on the go.

The oil’s stability at room temperature prevents the bars from becoming overly soft or hard, ensuring they maintain their intended texture. Palm oil also contributes to the overall flavor profile of nutritional bars, making them a convenient and enjoyable snack option.

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