Part of our daily life
Every day, often without even being aware of it, we use products containing vegetable and animal oils and fats. Oils and fats play a key role in our daily life and our economy. This role will only increase in the near future due to the rising world population, increased prosperity and the increasing importance of a biobased economy. Vegetable and animal oils and fats are renewable resources
Vegetable oils and animal fats have a natural origin. The products of our industry can be found in a wide range of (consumer and industrial) products and economic sectors. Oils and fats have roughly four key applications:
The first and most significant application is in our food. Oils and fats are an important basis for many products: from margarines, cooking products and frying oil to bakery products, chocolate, baby food, soup, sauces and ice cream. Oils and fats provide energy for our body and are important for the taste, consistency, texture and shelf-life of foodstuff. But also, and above all, they provide our body with important nutrients through essential fatty acids and vitamins. Authorities throughout the world, such as the WHO, the FAO and the Dutch Health Council, recommend that between 20 and 35 per cent of our necessary daily calories consist of fats. So, oils and fats are essential elements of our food.
In feed, oils and fats are an important component too. Just like they do in humans, oils and fats provide animals with nutrients and energy and ensure the taste and texture of the feed.
Approximately half the products sold in supermarkets contain oils or fats. In addition to foodstuff, they are also used in all kinds of consumer products that have nothing to do with food. Examples include cosmetics (skin care), shampoo, laundry and cleaning products, candles and paint. This application field is called the oleochemical industry. Oleochemicals have diverse unique functional qualities and are an alternative to mineral oils. Renewable oils and fats are also increasingly being used for the manufacture of paints, varnishes, lubricants, glue, insulation materials and biodegradable plastics.
Finally, oils and fats are increasingly being used as raw materials for the manufacture of biofuels (specifically biodiesel or biokerosene) and they thus offer an alternative to fossil fuels.