Here at Natural Habitats, organic, sustainably sourced palm oil is our passion. Among the many traits that we love about this incredible product, one of the best aspects of palm oil is its versatility.
Palm oil can be used in a variety of ways, and because it can be derived in different forms, there are countless uses depending on the form being utilized. Today, we’re highlighting palm stearin — a common fraction of palm oil used across industries. Keep reading to learn more!
What is Palm Stearin?
First and foremost, let’s learn more about what palm stearin actually is. Palm stearin is the solid fraction derived from palm oil, an oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. During the processing of this crop, the oil is separated into fractions based on its melting point, and one of these fractions is what is known as palm stearin.
Palm stearin has a higher melting point when compared to the other forms of palm oil. While palm olein is the liquid form, palm stearin is the solid counterpart. This derivative is rich in saturated fatty acids, especially stearic acid, which is how the product stays solid at room temperature. Its melting point sits at around 40-44 degrees Celsius, or 104-111 degrees Fahrenheit.
The product’s solid quality makes it perfect for food manufacturing, and it can frequently be found in margarine and shortening. Not only does palm stearin provide stability to these products, but it greatly improves the texture, making it smooth and creamy.
In addition to food, palm stearin can be found in countless other products. Its characteristics make it the perfect addition to items such as bar soap, candles, and cosmetics like lipstick, providing structure and enhanced texture to the formulation of these goods.
What Makes Palm Stearin So Versatile?
Palm stearin has a variety of qualities that make it incredibly versatile. Discover the reasons for its remarkable versatility below!
- High melting point: As previously mentioned, palm stearin’s melting point is much higher than palm olein’s, and it is also significantly higher than other comparable vegetable oils. This makes it perfect for products that require a solid or semi-solid consistency.
- Structure: Palm stearin is ideal for products that require an element of structure and stability at room temperature. Think of goods such as chocolate, margarine, and other spreads – it’s important for them to remain solid at room temperature, which is why putting palm stearin in their formulation makes a world of difference.
- Texture: Texturally, palm stearin provides a beautiful creamy texture to any product. Because it offers a creamy texture, it delivers a certain ease of use, as well as a great mouthfeel to the food items it’s used in. For instance, when used in a product like margarine, it makes the product much easier to spread.
- Oxidative stability: Oxidative stability is what prevents a product from going rancid quickly. Palm stearin’s oxidative stability is able to extend the shelf life of products, maintaining their quality for much longer periods of time.
- Cost-effective: Compared to many other vegetable oils, palm stearin is much more affordable. This competitive pricing makes palm stearin a desirable ingredient.
The Uses of Palm Stearin
Because palm stearin provides excellent versatility through a wide array of qualities, it has plenty of uses. Read about just five of the many products that contain palm stearin!
- Butter substitutes: As we previously discussed, palm stearin is commonly used in margarine and other baking fats. However, that’s not the only substitute containing palm stearin! Plenty of alternative butter substitutes use palm stearin within their formulation to improve the smoothness of the texture, provide a longer shelf life, and offer enhanced stability to the product.
- Plant-based spreads, meats, and cheeses: Do you frequently opt for vegan or plant-based options in your diet? If so, then you’re likely consuming palm stearin on a regular basis! Palm stearin has the ability to replicate the texture of meat, and it also adds creaminess and meltability to plant-based cheeses. This unique ingredient can truly make a big difference in the performance of these products.
- Nut butters: Nut butters, similar to butter substitutes and other spreads, require a smooth, creamy texture and stability at room temperature. With the presence of palm oil, nut butters become significantly more smooth and easy to spread. Peanut butter sandwiches have never been better!
- Microwave popcorn: You might be surprised by this item on our list, but even microwave popcorn is enhanced by palm stearin. It serves as an excellent coating, adding a buttery flavor with a smooth texture.
- Instant soups: Instant soups and bouillons often contain palm stearin, as it can greatly impact the smooth, creamy texture that you want any soup to contain. Plus, for creamier stews and chowders, palm stearin can drastically improve the mouthfeel, which is a huge benefit.
A Better Way to Buy Palm Oil
Palm stearin is a truly irreplaceable ingredient, included in the formulations of countless products. In fact, you may have eaten something containing this superstar product today! Next time you’re eating one of your favorite foods, take a look at the label, and you just may be surprised to see palm stearin in its ingredients list.
Interested in learning more about organic palm oil and the people working to make this product fully traceable and sustainably sourced across the industry? Check out Natural Habitats, and discover the importance of finding a better way to buy palm oil.