Vegetable oils are oils or fats extracted from a plant. Their texture can be described as liquid, oily and fatty. Most vegetable oils are able to fulfill two functions: they can either be used as cooking oil or for fuel and diesel production. The most common oil types include palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil and sunflowerseed oil. Palm oil is extracted from the flesh of the palm fruit, which is primarily found in the tropical climate of Africa, South America and South East Asia. It is estimated that about 90 percent of palm oil is used for food consumption, whereas industrial consumption such as cosmetic products or fuel and diesel claim the remaining 10 percent.
In terms of consumption as a food product, vegetable oils are seen as the healthier alternative as they contain more unsaturated fatty acids than animal fats. One of the most widely used cooking oils is canola oil, also known as rapeseed oil. It is obtained by extraction from the rapeseed, which is first slightly heated and then crushed. Rapeseed oil, in particular, is seen to have the advantages of containing a higher amount of omega-3 (linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic) fatty acids and to be low in saturated fatty acids. In 2015/2016, the global rapeseed oil consumption amounted to 27.77 million metric tons, up from 24.29 million metric tons in 2012/13.