TBC Ingredients ApS

From oil palm to ingredients

The oil palms (Elaeis) comprise two species of the palm family. They are used in commercial agriculture in the production of palm oil. The African Oil Palm Elaeis guineensisis native to west Africa, occurring between Angola and Gambia, while the American Oil Palm Elaeis oleiferais native to tropical Central America and South America. The generic name is derived from the Greek for oil, elaion, while the species name refers to its country of origin.
Mature trees are single-stemmed, and grow to 20 m tall. The leaves are pinnate, and reach between 3-5 m long. A young tree produces about 30 leaves a year. Established trees over 10 years produce about 20 leaves a year. The flowers are produced in dense clusters; each individual flower is small, with three sepals and three petals.



Palm oil products
RBD palm oil
RBD palm olein
RBD palm stearin
RBD palmkernel oil
Hydrogenated palm oil
Hydrogenated palmkernel oil
Hydrogenated palmkernel stearin
Crude palm oil
Crude palmkernel oil
Specialty fats products
Cocoa butter equivalents (CBE)
Cocoa butter replacers (CBR)
Cocoa butter substitutes (CBS)
Specially formulated filling fats
Creaming fats
Ice-cream fats
Milk fat replacers
Frying fats
Tailor-made fats to suit customers requirements to be used in chocolate filling and coating fats, chocolates, confectionery, bread, pastry, cakes, cream filling and dairy.

From oil palm to ingredients continued…

The palm fruit takes five to six months to mature from pollination to maturity. The palm fruit is reddish, about the size of a large plum and grows in large bunches. Each fruit is made up of an oily, fleshy outer layer (the pericarp), with a single seed (the palm kernel), also rich in oil. When ripe, each bunch of fruit weigh 40-50 kg. (Young palm trees make fruit bunches of just 5-8 kg.) Harvesting from young oil palm trees can commence after 20-30 months. After 25-28 years the oil palm trees are worn out, and they are taken down, cut to woodchips and used as fertilizer for the soil and new trees can be planted.

The African pollinating weevil Elaeido biouskamerunicus was introduced from Africa into the oil palm growing regions of Asia and the Pacific in the early 1980s. These introductions were very successful, dispensing with the need for assisted pollination, significantly improving fruitset, and hence increasing yields. The introductions therefore made a significant contribution to the economic viability of oil palm throughout the region.

Oil is extracted from both the pulp of the fruit (palm oil) and the kernel (palm kernel oil, used in foods, for cosmetics and soap manufacture). The high oil yield of oil palm trees (as high as 7,250 liters per hectare per year) has made it a common cooking ingredient. Its increasing use in the commercial food industry in all over the world is buoyed by its cheaper pricing, the high oxidative stability of the refined product and high levels of natural antioxidants. Since palm oil contains more saturated fats than oils made from rapeseed, corn, linseed, soybeans, safflower, and sunflowers, it can withstand extreme deep-frying heat and resists oxidation.

For each hectare of oil palm, which is harvested year-round, the annual production averages 10 tonnes of fruit, which yields 3,000 kg of pericarp oil, and 750 kg of seed kernels, which yield 250 kg of high quality palm kernel oil as well as 500 kg of kernel meal. Palm fronds and kernel meal are processed for use as livestock feed.

It is essential for an oil palm nursery to have an uninterrupted supply of clean water and topsoil which is both well-structured and sufficiently deep to accommodate three rounds of on-site bag-filling. Approximately 35 ha can grow enough seedlings over a three-year period to plant a 5,000 ha plantation. Pre-nursery seedlings must be watered daily. When ever rainfall is less than 10 mm per day, irrigation is required, and the system must be capable of uniformly applying 6.5 mm water per day. Pre-nursery seedlings in the four-leaf stage of development (10 to 14 weeks after planting) are usually transplanted to the main nursery, after their gradual adjustment to full sunlight and rigid selection process.

During culling, seedlings that have “grassy”, “crinkled”, “twisted”, or “rolled” leaves are discarded. Weeds growing in the polybags must be carefully pulled out. Herbicides should not be used. Numerous insects (e.g., ants, armyworm, bagworm, aphids, thrips, mites, grasshoppers, mealybugs) and vertebrates (e.g., rats, squirrels, porcupine, wild boar, monkeys) are pests in oil palm nurseries and must be carefully identified before control measures are implemented. After eight months in the nursery, normal healthy plants should be 0.8–1 m in height and display 5 to 8 functional leaves. They are ready to be planted in the plantations.


Processing the palm fresh fruit bunches

The process begins with the harvesting of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) which are milled within 24 hours from harvesting. FFBs are first transferred to the palm oil mills for sterilisation by applying high-pressure steam, where upon the palm fruits are enzyme deactivated and separated from the palm bunches.
After the steaming process, the palm fruits are crushed in a pressing machine to obtain Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and palm kernel. Waste and water is then cleared and separated from the CPO by means of a centrifuge. The cleared crude palm oil emerging from the centrifuge is then sent for refining while the palm kernel nut is sent for crushing. The empty fruit bunches and liquid waste arising from the process are used as fertilizer in the plantations.


Crushing the palm kernel into crude palm kernel oil

The palm kernel nut is fractured causing the palm kernel to loosen from the shell. The shell is separated from the kernel through a clay bath where it is used as fuel in the boiler room or co-generation plant. The palm kernel is further crushed to produce crude palm kernel oil and the remaining palm kernel meal is used as animal feed.


The refining process to produce RBD palm oil and RBD palm kernel oil

To produce refined oil, crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil is processed through three refining stages; degumming, bleaching and deodorizing. In degumming, the gum and fatty acid in crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil are separated together with other impurities such as trace minerals, copper and iron by the application of phosphoric acid.

In bleaching, the oil is mixed with bleaching earth (bentonite calcium) in a vacuum room to remove impurities and colour pigments in the palm oil. In deodorising, the odour and taste of the oil is removed when the oil is steamed at high temperatures between 240°C to 260°C and then cooled to room temperature.


Fractionation process into RBD stearin and RBD olein

RBD palm stearin and RBD palm olein are obtained by the fractionation of RBD palm oil; whereas RBD palm kernel stearin and RBD palm kernel olein are obtained by the fractionation of RBD palm kernel oil. Through a process known as crystallisation, RBD oil is cooled until crystals are formed.

The crystallized oil in the crystallizer is then filtered through a membrane to separate the liquid fraction i.e. olein from the solid fraction i.e. stearin. RBD palm olein is usually sold as cooking oil and may go through further fractionation depending on the quality required.


Specialty fats manufacturing

The palm and palm kernel fractions are further processed to convert them to special value- added products, in various food applications ranging from healthy frying to gourmet chocolates. Various state-of-the-art and in-house developed processes are used for these modifications. Some of these processes are fractionation, hydrogenation, interesterification, formulations and texturisation.


Fractionation is used to produce many soft and hard trans-free fractions and many mid-fractions with unique qualities for special applications.

Hydrogenation is a chemical modification process which hardens soft oils or fractions to produce products with unique melting profiles to meet special applications in the food industry.

Interesterification, which is gaining more prominence in the industry, is a process which modifies oils and fats functions by chemically rearranging the triglyceride molecules. This process can be used to produce healthy fats without the dreaded trans-fats.

Formulation is a process where various fats and fractions are combined to meet specific applications. Exotic fats such as illipe and shea fats, are processed for formulating cocoa butter equivalents.

Texturisation is a process where the final formulated fats are chilled and crystallised to meet the right stable consistency suitable for some applications such as creaming and baking, and for long distance transportation.

These processes are used either individually or in combination to produce suitable fats for various applications.


Cocoa butter alternatives

Cocoa Butter Equivalents (CBE)

Physical properties comparable to cocoa butter and is fully compatible
Contain exotic fats; shea, illipe, kokum
Price index: approx. 115
Based on non-lauric fats
Brings out the intense flavours of other ingredients. Do not develop soapy taste
Resistant to blooming
Allowed in EU chocolate according to 5% rule
Processing requirements identical to cocoa-butter based products; tempering required
Non-hydrogenated and free from trans fats
Used in filled chocolates, tablets, quality coatings etc.

Cocoa Butter Replacers (CBR)

Moderate compatibility with cocoa butter; max. 20% in fat phase
Price index: approx. 100
Based on non-lauric fats
Good retention of chocolate flavours. Has high solid content, it imparts excellent stability to both chocolates and confectionery coating
All-round coating fat for a wide range of products
Resistant to blooming
Non-temper; suitable for wide range of processing possibilities
Often partly hydrogenated and contain trans fats
Used in cereal & chocolate bars, biscuits, wafers etc.

Cocoa Butter Substitutes (CBS)

Low compatibility with cocoa butter; max. 5% in fat phase
Price index: approx. 85
Based on lauric fats
Exhibits good snap and excellent flavour release. Good eating characteristics with outstanding cool and clean meltdown. Do not develop soapy taste
Non-temper and high crystallization speed; suitable for wide range of processing possibilities
Very good heat resistance
Often fully hydrogenated and contain trans fats less that 1%
Used in bakery, confectionery, etc.


Lauric or non-lauric?

Fats for confectionery are divided in lauric and non-lauric.
Lauric fats comes from sources like palm kernel and coconut
and the composition is quite different from non-lauric fats
that come from sources like cocoa or palm fruit. When these
two types are mixed together, the melting behaviour of the
blend will be totally different from either of the two fat ingredients,
resulting in a product that is much softer. This will often mean a decreased shelf life of the end-product.


Oil & fats packing

20 ton Flexi tanks
20 ton ISO tanks
1000 liters Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC)
190 kg drums
15-25 kg cartons
18-20 kg Bag in Box (BIB)