Cooking oil, as the name implies, is an oil that is used to fry food. It is made from the reddish flesh of the oil palm fruit. Oil palm kernels can also yield oil although the quality will be inferior and it is mostly used in the cosmetic industry and in soap making.
Palm cooking oil can be produced by refining palm oil once, such as what is known here as minyak curah (unpackaged oil) or several refining to enhance the quality. It also fortified with vitamins to enhance its health benefits for its consumers.
In Indonesia, it is one of the nine essential goods that the Government deems necessary to manage in terms of supply and price so as to prevent unrest due to shortages or price fluctuation. It is the most consumed commodity in Indonesia.
This commodity is popular because it has a high resistance to oxidation and high temperatures. With a composition that is half saturated fat and the other half unsaturated fat, this cooking oil is very suitable for frying because of its resistance to high temperatures, its ability to enhance flavor and not physically change too rapidly. Palm cooking oil, some claim, is also trans-fat free and also free of cholesterol.
Regardless of whether its good or bad, This is the most used commodity in Indonesia. The Government is also gradually replacing an unpackaged product with those that have a simple packaging that can assure better cleanliness and quality. Beside usually going through one single refining process only, unpackaged cooking oil is also not fortified with vitamins.
Demand for palm oil has continued to rise in recent years while per capita national consumption of the cooking oil has leveled in the past two years, presumably because of higher household revenues allowing the more selective use of cooking oil such as for cooking, salads, etc.
Let us look at how demand for palm cooking oil has risen and also at the per-capita consumption figures.