Palm kernel oil
While palm oil can be fractionated into palm olein and plam stearin, palm kernel oil can also be further processed into palm kernel olein and palm kernel stearin. Palm kernel oil, semi-solid at room temperature, is more saturated than palm oil and comparable to coconut oil. It is popularly used in commercial cooking and frying because it remains stable at high cooking temperatures and is lower in cost than other oils while allowing for a longer shelf life than other vegetable oils.
The term “palm oil”, as the Nigerian Palm Oil Council (NPOC) defines it, actually encompasses several types of oil derived from the palm tree, including palm oil and palm kernel oil, and their respective fractionated components.
Because of its nearly equal fatty acids composition – 50% saturated and 50% unsaturated – palm oil can be fractionated for different uses, i.e. partially crystallized and separated into a high melting fraction or stearin (e.g. formulation of margarine, shortening, confectionery and vegetable ghee); and a low melting fraction or olein (e.g. formulation of instant noodles and fried food products).
Palm oil and palm kernel oil are both versatile oils extracted from different parts of the oil palm fruit. Palm oil is extracted from the flesh or pulp of the fruit (the outer part) while palm kernel oil is extracted from the soft part of the seed (the inner part). Although both oils originate from the same fruit, palm oil is chemically and nutritionally different from palm kernel oil.