Palm Oil Based Food Products Has the Potential To Be a “Weapon” that Facing the Threat of Food Crisis
Currently, all countries in the world including Indonesia are still fighting in the war against the Covid-19 virus. In Indonesia, there are no signs that the Covid pandemic will end soon if we see that there are still many new cases that occur every day. Even the conditions in other countries are still the same, some are even getting worse.
The impact that has occurred from the Covid pandemic has spread to various sectors such as health, economy, and social. Health issue is not only problem during this pandemic, but food security is also one of the main issues discussed by the national and international community. The Covid pandemic also has the potential to threaten food security.
The lockdown policy or restrictions on social and economic activities as an effort to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus which is implemented in several countries also has an impact on food production activities so that it has the potential to threaten the availability of foodstuffs to the food crisis. It is feared that several world food producing countries will also limit and even close export markets to ensure food stocks to fulfill domestic consumption needs. This has the potential to disrupt global food supply.
Palm oil is one of the vegetable oils that are widely applied in the oleofood sector to produce various food products that contribute to maintain food security. Palm oil has many advantages as a raw material for food products, both from its characteristics (heat resistance, not easily oxidized, odorless and tasteless), relatively cheap price to its nutritional content.
Cooking oil is one of the processed food products from palm oil that has been widely known and consumed by both the Indonesian and global community. Even for the people of Indonesia, cooking oil is included in the basic foodstuff or what is known as Sembako (Sembilan Bahan Pokok). The large consumption of palm cooking oil in Indonesia is due to the eating habits of Indonesian consumers who prefer foods that go through a deep frying process.
Maybe the public only knows palm cooking oil as a processed product from palm oil, but in fact there are many other food products that are processed from it. Various processed palm oil products that become food products, such as margarine, shortening, vanasphati ghee, confectioneries fat, filling/cream, spread fat, filled milk, Cocoa Butter Alternatives/Substitute, biscuits, noodles, bread, ice cream, butter, youghurt, cheese, breastmilk fat substitution and other emulsifier products. Even today, oil palm farmers are innovating to produce brown sugar from palm oil trunks that have been felled. This shows that almost all food products on supermarket shelves contain palm oil in the composition of the product.
The wide application of palm oil in the food sector shows that the characteristics of palm oil are favored by the food industry. But not only that, palm oil also contains nutrients and nutrition that are beneficial for the health of the body, especially in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic like today. The results of research by experts in the world show that palm oil is a healthy vegetable oil and is not harmful to health.
The relatively balanced content of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in palm oil is needed by the human body. In addition, palm oil also does not contain trans fats which are harmful to health. The high content of vitamin A, vitamin E and other high antioxidants means that consumption of palm oil can increase the body’s immune system. Palm oil also contains palmitic acid which plays an important role in providing protection for healthy lungs. The large nutritional content contained in palm oil has the potential not only to be used as a food product, but palm oil can also produce micronutrient and vitamin products, for example vitamin A fortification.
With all of its advantages, palm oil based food products are delicious, nutritious and affordable for all Indonesians and globally because of their relatively competitive prices. The large potential need for palm-based food products is also increasingly supported by the availability of palm oil as a raw material. Data compiled by GAPKI shows that palm oil production (CPO + CPKO) reached 23.5 million tons during the January-June 2020 period.
The variety of food products that can be produced from palm oil processing and guaranteed of the availability palm oil production shows that this commodity has potential to maintain food security and minimize the occurrence of a food crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if it is linked to the SDGs as a global development platform, the role of palm oil in the food sector also shows the contribution of the palm oil industry as an actor in achieving one of the goals, SDGs-2, namely eliminating hunger, improving nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
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