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Fats and Oils Handbook (Nahrungsfette und Öle)

Fats and Oils Handbook (Nahrungsfette und Öle)

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Fats and Oils Handbook (Nahrungsfette und Öle)

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Aug 13, 2015


Fats and Oils Handbook (Nahrungsfette und Öle) acknowledges the importance of fats and oils and surveys today's state-of-the-art technology. To pursue food technology without knowing the raw material would mean working in a vacuum. This book describes the raw materials predominantly employed and the spectrum of processes used today. It is the updated and revised English version of Nahrungsfette und Ole, originally printed in German. It contains 283 tables, 647+ figures, and over 850 references. "If you can afford only one book on oils and fats, their composition, processing and use, then this should probably be the one!"
  • Presents details on the composition, chemistry, and processes of the major fats and oils used today
  • Includes hundreds of illustrations and tables, making the concepts easier to read and grasp
  • Acknowledges the importance of fats and oils offers details on relevant technologies
Aug 13, 2015

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Fats and Oils Handbook (Nahrungsfette und Öle) - Elsevier Science

Fats and Oils Handbook

Michael Bockisch

Hamburg, Germany

Table of Contents

Cover image

Title page




Preface to the English Edition

Chapter 1: The Importance of Fats

Chapter 2: Composition, Structure, Physical Data, and Chemical Reactions of Fats and Oils, Their Derivatives, and Their Associates

Chapter 3: Animal Fats and Oils

Chapter 4: Vegetable Fats and Oils

Chapter 5: The Extraction of Vegetable Oils

Chapter 6: Modification of Fats and Oils

Chapter 7: Oil Purification

Chapter 8: Fat as or in Food

Chapter 9: Analytical Methods

Chapter 10: Conversion Tables, Abbreviations

Chapter 11: Acknowledgments

Chapter 12: Bibliography



This book is dedicated to my wife Gudrun to whom, in the course of doing this translation, revision, and update, I had to break my promise never to write a book again, and also to my son Benjamin and my daughter Valerie.


AOCS Mission Statement

To be a forum for the exchange of ideas, information, and experience among those with a professional interest in the science and technology of fats, oils, and related substances in ways that promote personal excellence and provide high standards of quality.

AOCS Books and Special Publications Committee

M. Mossoba, Chairperson, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland

R. Adlof, USDA, ARS, NCAUR-Retired, Peoria, Illinois

M.L. Besemer, Besemer Consulting, Rancho Santa, Margarita, California

P. Dutta, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

T. Foglia, ARS, USDA, ERRC, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania

V. Huang, Yuanpei University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

L. Johnson, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

H. Knapp, DBC Research Center, Billings, Montana

D. Kodali, Global Agritech Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota

G.R. List, USDA, NCAUR-Retired, Consulting, Peoria, Illinois

J.V. Makowski, Windsor Laboratories, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

T. McKeon, USDA, ARS, WRRC, Albany, California

R. Moreau, USDA, ARS, ERRC, Wyndoor, Pennsylvania

A. Sinclair, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

P. White, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

R. Wilson, USDA, REE, ARS, NPS, CPPVS-Retired, Beltsville, Maryland

AOCS Press, Urbana, IL 61802

© 1998 by AOCS Press. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

ISBN-13 978-0-9818936-0-0

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bockisch, Michael.

[Nahrungsfette und Öle. English]

Updated and revised translation of the original German work,

Nahrungsfette und Öle

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-935315-82-9 (alk. paper)

1. Oils and fats, Edible—Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Title.

TP670.B5713 1998




Printed in the United States of America.

12 11 10 09 08 8 7 6 5 4

The paper used in this book is acid-free and falls within the guidelines established to ensure permanence and durability.


Oils and fats have been constituents of human nutrition from ancient times. First, they contain the highest level of energy of all components of food; second, they supply essential elements for the body. However, the fundamental reason for their early and varied use was certainly the fact that they contribute to the development of flavor, making dishes tasty and giving them a good, smooth mouth-feel.

In the course of his life, a human being living in the industrial nations consumes approximately three tons of fats and oils; about half of them are so-called invisible fats, hidden in other food, e.g., sausage and cheese. In the developing countries, the portion of fat in food intake lies far below the amount recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is not due to limited world resources, but rather to problems of local purchasing power as well as logistics and distribution. Cultivation could easily rise considerably faster than the world population. Fats are an important factor in the economy because of their status as basic constituents of nutrition and the large amounts consumed. This becomes apparent in their ranking second in worldwide traded items. For some countries or regions, they represent an indispensable part of the gross national product and a source of foreign currency. Because of the development of new varieties of oil seeds, the areas under cultivation have been extended in the past decades from the earth’s sun belt to regions of temperate climate, which now deliver a substantial part of that crop. This has led to a shift in economic interests. Some of these factors will be discussed in this book to illustrate the large correlations that exist. This book will acknowledge the importance of fats and oils and give a survey of today’s state of the art in technology. Even when considering a topic that is relatively limited in scope, it is impossible for a single person to obtain more than a general view of the field. It follows that to give an adequate description, it is vital to have recourse to the knowledge base established over the years by the publications of many scientists and practitioners. I would like to express my thanks to all those colleagues whose findings and experiences formed a basis for my studies. Technology is not an end in itself. It is justified when it makes it possible to improve the foodstuff offered by nature in whatever way, whether in amount, cost, quality or other criteria that make possible its use or adaptation to our way of life today. To pursue food technology without knowing the raw material would mean working in a vacuum and performing l’art pour l’art. In this book, great attention was thus paid to describing the sources of the oils and fats, and also the fats and oils themselves in such a way that the technological steps be well-founded and the purpose clear. Since the industrial revolution, there has been a great boom in the industry of edible fats and oils. The processes that remain in use today are founded on basic findings from approximately 100 years ago. Much has been improved since that time, and many facts already known are exploited today only on the basis of improved technology.

Technology will continue to develop in parallel with man’s changing attitude to it. In the broadest sense, progress in biological science and biotechnology contributes to this. Because biotechnological processes are reputed to be more natural than chemical ones, there is an attempt to use enzymic reactions for fat technology. Much more far-reaching effects can be achieved by cultivation or the application of gene technology. Plants containing fats and oils in a desired composition, structure and quality render superfluous certain steps of treatment or modifications. To date, agriculture has not yet fully realized the potential offered by the cultivation of tailor-made plants for certain purposes, as opposed to mass cultivation.

In addition to these aspects, the development of machines and equipment leading to a more responsible way of dealing with raw materials and the environment continues. New processes of refining are confined mainly to physical modes of operation and protection of energy and water resources, in keeping with the spirit of the period and the desire to keep costs low. The manufacturers of such equipment are constantly engaged in new and further developments. Here, I would like to thank the companies that are mentioned subsequent to the bibliography for their support in providing pictures and information.

This book will survey the raw materials predominantly employed and the spectrum of processes used today. Man’s ability to absorb information visually, i.e., via pictures, is many times greater than through the other senses or through transposition from language. A diagram or figure conveys more than a thousand words. To impart information quickly and efficiently, a focus of importance in this book was the explanation of technological steps in the form of graphs, a form of presentation that offers the reader a quick orientation and conveys a general view. Sufficient detail is offered to highlight the critical points without obscuring the presentation of essential information. In that sense, this book can be considered a sort of picture-book—hopefully, in a good sense.

Michael Bockisch

Vienna, 1993

Preface to the English Edition

AOCS Press has decided to publish this (originally German) book in English, updated and revised, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to expand its distribution and readership.

The book was written primarily for Europe, and especially for Germany; some parts of Chapter 1, in particular, focus on the home situation. These parts have been changed where possible to give a broader picture. However, some figures remain in their original form, describing the situation in Germany. This was the case whenever they were too specific to be changed or when they illustrated certain facts that may well be used as an example for other regions in the world or as representative for the European Union.

It is an honor to be able to reach a much wider readership. I translated the book to the best of my ability; however, without the help of my son, Benjamin, who had to do a lot of proofreading, of Ralf Tonn, who assisted me with the translation of Chapter 1, and especially of Iain Gow, Greg Knoll and Michael Gude, who did their very best as co-readers to improve my style, I (or you as the readers) would have been worse off. Both my readers and I owe them our thanks.

In the interim between the original German issue and this one, almost half a decade has passed, and some of the trends that could be seen on the horizon have intensified. The skepticism towards any form of technology has increased in some countries, especially Scandinavia and the German-speaking countries, coming very close to hostility at least in some parts of the population. This deepens the gap between the wealthy countries that can afford to reject useful technology and those parts of the world in which technology is urgently needed to feed the increasing and often poor population. It seems that part of today’s fat technology will disappear in Europe or that chemical processes will be replaced by physical ones regarded as more environmentally friendly or by enzymic ones regarded as biological and thus, natural. On the other hand, there is total rejection in some quarters of new technologies such as biotechnology whether the concern is enzymes and their methods of production or genetically modified organisms (GMO). The contradiction between the existence of less technology and the development of new plants that may save some processing steps will be difficult to resolve. The next two to three years will determine where these new developments will be accepted and where they will not. A start was made in 1996 with the introduction of GMO soybeans, with other modified oilseeds following mainly in 1998.

Lastly, I hope my readers will follow the advice of the great German poet Wolfgang von Goethe, who said: Also, we should not deny that we are willing to forgive one or the other typing error in a book because we feel flattered by the fact that we detected it.

Michael Bockisch

Hamburg, 1997

Chapter 1

The Importance of Fats

The importance of fats for humans, animals and plants lies in their high content of energy, which permits the greatest possible storage of energy in the smallest possible amount of food substance. In addition, fats allow humans and animals to consume fat-soluble vitamins and provide them with essential fatty acids, that is, those indispensable fatty acids that their bodies are unable to synthesize themselves.

Fats are omnipresent in nature, although in the most diverse quantities. In the human body, they play a decisive role as well, beginning with the nutrition of the infant with breast milk. During the first 5 d, breast milk contains an average of 29.5% fat; from d 6 through 10, the amount is 35.2% and later 45.4% (Macy 1949). In the course of life, a human living in the industrial world satisfies an average of >40% of energy demand with fat. Metabolized in the human body, fats yield 38 kj/g of energy (9 kcal/g). In this exothermic reaction, ∼2000 mL of oxygen per gram of fat is consumed and ∼1400 mL of carbon dioxide is produced (Peters and van Slyke 1946). In addition to ∼63 ton of water, 0.5 ton of alcohol, 8 ton of carbohydrates and 2 ton of proteins, humans consume ∼3 ton of fat during their lives.

The efficiency of fat as foodstuff is very high, because the fat contained in food is almost completely reabsorbed by the body; in the feces (in the course of one’s life ∼5 ton, plus 30 ton of urine) only 3.3% of lipids can be found (Pimparkar 1961). Thus, fats play an indispensable part in nutrition as supplier of energy, source of compounds that the body cannot synthesize by itself, and carrier of vital substances. Fats cannot be replaced by other substances. Apart from this physiological aspect, they are excellent carriers of flavors, and dishes prepared with fats are much tastier than others.

Fats also provide a smooth, creamy consistency to many dishes, which translates into a good mouth-feel. This explains in part why the consumption of fat is still very high today, even though the segment of the population performing hard labor has diminished greatly compared with the past, rendering a very high supply of calories no longer necessary (see also Chapter 1.4).

The improvement in flavor, in particular, is certainly the reason why fats and oils have been appreciated for a long time. However, only since the beginning of the present century has it been possible in the industrial nations to provide the population with sufficient quantities of fat at reasonable prices (see Chapter 1.3). Because of this increasing importance of fats and oils, governments have intervened to a great extent in their production and distribution in the last 100 years (see Chapter 1.5). European food legislation, in particular, has often been marked by protectionist objectives.

The importance of fats and oils to the global economy (Chapter 1.3) becomes clear when considering the amount of oilseed and fruit grown worldwide. In 1995, ∼60 million ton of palm fruit and ∼11 million ton of olives as well as >200 million ton of oilseeds were harvested. From these amounts, >90 million ton of oils and fats were derived. Many countries are trying to enlarge their shares in the international market, a strategy that is usually to the disadvantage of others and leads to defensive measures. National interests play a part here. For example, 10 years ago, the European Union began to promote the cultivation of sunflowers and rape in the area of the Community. A simultaneous attempt to stabilize the Community’s budget deficit by introducing a tax on fat caused the U.S. to fear for its soy exports, resulting in a threat of trade obstructions aimed at the European automobile industry. The confrontation was averted in 1987, but it will reappear again and again, unless the issue of a tax on fat is buried for good.

In addition to the importance of oils and fats for human nutrition, there is a substantial market for technical fats. The importance of these oils and fats will increase considerably in the future because they represent a vast potential of naturally regenerating raw materials in which the chemical and pharmaceutical industries have a special interest. A short survey of these technical fats is given in Chapter 1.6.

The importance of oils and fats for human nutrition, the animal feed produced from the processing of most oil plants and the economic importance of oils and fats, i.e., the fact that many millions of people worldwide make a living by the production and processing of oils and fats, all combine to give special importance to technology. This may even be enhanced if oil-bearing crops could be offered to the chemical industry as a source of regenerating raw materials.

Only ∼1% of ∼300,000 existing species of plants has thus far been examined for their qualifications as useful plants. Only 300 of these, i.e., 0.1%, are being used agriculturally today. About 7% of these, ∼20, are oil plants. A considerable potential, which may be suitable for the recovery of oil, thus remains. This is especially true when plants with a special fatty acid pattern are desired. In addition, there are new methods of plant breeding that also may open up new prospects.

1.1 A History of the Production of Oils and Fats

From ancient times, man unconsciously consumed fat in his food via plants, fish, and meat. However, the use of oils and fats required some simple techniques. For example, only when the ability to make fire was discovered was it possible to melt the fat of hunted animals and store the fat. Storage also required the ability to produce vessels made from clay or another materials. Mutton tallow and lard, and later butter, cream, and fish oils were known in prehistoric times (Hanssen and Wendt 1965). Vegetable fats from olives and sesame seed, and possibly flax were also known.

Until the previous century, the utilization of fats and oils as food went hand in hand with their use as fuel, predominantly for purposes of illumination. Even today, the name lampante for certain qualities of olive oil refers to this. As a base for ointments and cosmetics, they are still in use today, just as in the earliest periods.

It is known from pictures that food factories were in existence in early days. Wooley (1929) presented a picture of an Egyptian dairy-farm that illustrated, among other things, the process of churning. Erman and Ranke (1923) showed the sequence of operations of a large-scale Egyptian bakery of Ramses III in Thebes around 1200 b.c. in which a dough resembling a Chelsea bun is being baked in oil. People in the Mediterranean region and in Asia used oils long before those in Central Europe. With olives in the Mediterranean area and sesame in the area of the Euphrates and Tigris, oil plants that do not grow in the temperate latitudes were readily available. The Bible mentions oil in many passages. Moses, for example, required oil as a donation for the Tabernacle’s lamps; cake and pancakes were baked with unleavened oil (2 Moses 29). It was customary to anoint with oil, and Jacob anointed a stone this way to sanctify it. Passages in Luke indicate that oil was a valuable commodity. For instance, there is a description of how a person owed 100 barrels of oil to somebody else (Luke 16: 5.6). The importance of the olive tree to the people in the Mediterranean region also became visible by its being consecrated to the goddess of wisdom, Athene, in ancient Athens; it later became the symbol of peace and promise. Thus, after the Deluge, the dove came to Noah with an olive leaf in its beak (1 Moses 8:11), a symbol of the world’s survival. Plinius described how to extract olive oil by pressing ripe fruit in a squeezing vise, a procedure customary in his time. Butter (dense, solid milk foam) was also mentioned, but only as a replacement for olive oil in times of need, or for baking. Another familiar practice of fat technology was the remelting of lard for cleaning purposes.

Roman fat technology spread throughout the Mediterranean region. Excavations in Tunis show its propagation in Northern Africa; in Pompeii and Herculaneum, entire processing facilities consisting of oil mills, oil presses, oil shops, and oil depots were uncovered (UNION 1959). Because the fatty acids corroded copper, oil was transported in vessels made of lead, but also in tanker vehicles. These were carts carrying animal skins enclosed in iron hoops in which the oil was kept. Poppy seed has also been discovered in Swiss lacustrine dwellings dating from the 25th century b.c. It is probable that the inhabitants already knew poppy oil and that people north of the Alps became familiar with oil mainly through the occupation by Roman troops. According to tradition, oil was also extracted from beechnuts that were mashed, then wrapped in cloths and pressed between plates of metal or stone. Every large farm extracted its own oil. Later, agriculture made further progress, and rape and linseed were added as oil fruit.

In the 16th century, the profession of the oil miller, who processed the farmers’ seeds, evolved. The oil was extracted by grinding, bruising, or pressing. Later, people shifted to squeezing vises. Windpower was used as propulsion in windmills. In the course of further development, hydraulic presses were built, and from the middle of the 19th century on, it was possible to extract oils and fats from the seeds by means of solvents.

When the seafaring European nations conquered the world, the resources were expanded and unknown types of oil fruit with much higher contents of oil and fat than those previously known were brought to Europe. Until the cultivation of soybeans was widely expanded, these oilseeds yielded the substantial part of vegetable fats and oils consumed in Europe. The explosive increase in population in the industrialized countries of the world during the industrial revolution, combined with urbanization, led to a new situation. The population that gathered in the cities had to be fed. This required an entirely new system of food distribution, which adapted itself to the change from domestic supply in small units (farms, villages or small towns) to industrial production. New requirements for food arose, especially concerning its preservation. New products such as margarine (see Chapter 6.4) made important contributions to mastering these challenges. Although the main concern in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the satisfaction of basic needs, in today’s industrial society, there is no longer a problem of quantity. After the decline in food production caused by the two World Wars and the Great Depression, during which the question of mere nourishing became important, the essential aspect of the 1960s and 1970s was that of enjoyment. The primary function of food was no longer the supply of calories, but the experience of taste. Accordingly, the focus shifted from the production of quantities, which were in fact available, to quality.

In particular, the emergence of the trend toward health consciousness has stimulated the demand for quality. Here the fat industry delivered exceptional contributions. The connection between cardiovascular disease and nutrition was detected in the early days. This knowledge was used to develop special products that provide preventive measures (e.g., becel; see Chapter 1.4). The excessive fat consumption of most of the world’s population and the consequences of overweight have led to the development of reduced-fat and very-low-fat variants of the most diverse types of food. For margarines, for example, the law had to be changed to allow this. Starting with margarines, food groups developed that made possible low-calorie nutrition, or, as in the case of becel (a trademark of Unilever concern), furnish variants of diverse foods free of or low in cholesterol and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

In recent years, a new trend could be observed developing in parts of the population. Sensitized by a growing awareness for environmental issues, naturalness of products has been given high priority. Although the demands resulting from this are partly exaggerated and no longer have a clear foundation, it will lead to changes in technology in some fields, at least in the wealthier countries.

In poorer countries, which strive to produce food for mere nourishment and survival, there is little patience for these trends. The priority here is to feed the population. Although the strong increase in population is no doubt leading to problems that cannot be overestimated, the production of fats has always increased at a rate higher than the population growth (see Chapter 1.3).

1.2 Fat in Food and Food Ingredients

Fats and oils, as such, are used for the production of food; in addition, unprocessed food or ingredients for food production contain fats and oil, sometimes in substantial quantities. These include fruits and vegetables but also meat and fish (Table 1.1).


Approximate Fat Content of Unprocessed Food



For oil and fat technology, these figures are important because they help identify the raw materials for oil and fat production. In processed food, oils and fats are also found in diverse quantities. The variety of foods listed below (Table 1.2) ranges from those which are produced by a single treatment step (e.g., by grinding) to those that require many steps of processing because they are composed of many kinds of raw material (Table 1.2). The figures cited can vary considerably and thus serve only as a basis for the order of magnitude of the fat content of the food.


Aproximate Fat Content of Processed Fooda

aThis analysis is from European food; all values are examples only and may differ from country to country according to local habits, local taste and local legislation.

1.3 The Economic Importance of Oils and Fats

Nourishment is an indispensable and essential need of the human race. It is the task of agriculture and the food industry to satisfy this need. Considering the current development of the world’s population, a huge demand is arising. This demand has to be satisfied under the best possible conditions. There remains a shortage of supply in many parts of the world. Considering the fat-providing potential of agriculture and industry, this demand should be able to be satisfied easily. In past years, the production of fat has grown at a faster pace than the population (Fig. 1.1). A shortage of supply is thus rather a problem of distribution and purchasing power than one of shortage in the sense of lacking potential. In the coming years, the production of fat will also grow more rapidly than the world population. Mielke (1985) estimated a 14-fold increase in oil production from the year 1958 to the year 2000. During this period, the amount of soybean oil will increase sevenfold and palm oil production will increase 2.5-fold. For palm oil, this prediction is already far outdated. In the past 10 years, the volume of oilseeds stored as surplus amounted to an average of 14% of production (Mielke 1990). However, as can be seen from Figure 1.2, there is a strong correlation between gross national product, reflecting the standard of living, and fat consumption. China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh currently represent almost one half of the world’s population. Demand for fat by these four countries will increase not only as their populations grow, but it can be predicted that a tremendous demand for fats and oils will be triggered as their gross national product improves.

Fig. 1.1 Growth of world population and oil/fat production.

Fig. 1.2 Average spending power and fat consumption in different countries. (adapted from Leonhard 1995)

Statistics concerning the world production of oils and fats have existed only since 1942. Estimations at that time, as well as those concerning the years before, were coordinated by the International Agrarian Institute in Rome (today FAO; Schüttauf 1942). Since then, there has been a shift from animal to vegetable fats (Fig. 1.3). As for all food, consumer prices for oils and fats have dropped significantly in relation to income. Rendered animal fats, and especially butter, were goods in short supply and thus very expensive. For example, in Germany in 1857, ∼15% of one’s daily food expense was needed to buy only 40 g of butter. In 1800, the entire expenditure for food amounted to ∼70% of a family’s entire income, in 1900 to ∼50% and in 1974 to ∼28%. Today in Western Europe, this fraction is clearly <25% (Gander 1984).

Fig. 1.3 Proportion of different oil sources on the world fat production.

The importance of oils and fats has increased during the past 100 years. Since the time before World War I, worldwide production has more than quintupled. The center of oil fruit cultivation was once situated in tropic regions, whereas today it is in temperate latitudes (Table 1.3).


Oil Seed and Oil Fruit Production in the World by Region (% of total)

To counteract this trend, tropical countries, in particular, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines strive hard to regain their former rank on the scale of producers. On the one hand, it allows them to feed their own growing population; on the other hand, it creates export possibilities and explains why the production of palm oil in these countries has been extended steadily and forcefully for about 15 years. The higher oil yields of cloned palms contributed to this in part. In Malaysia, production rose from 4 million ton in 1985, to ∼7 million ton in 1990 and to ∼10 million ton in 1995 (see Chapter 4.2.1). In that country alone, almost two million people make a living from palm oil, and in 1986, this branch of the industry yielded a revenue of almost $1.4 billion (U.S.).

At the same time, these efforts are a prime example of the importance of oils and fats to certain regions of the world. Often, one region’s efforts to raise production are accompanied by countermeasures from another region. In the case of Malaysia, the countermeasure was an attempt to discredit tropic oils. The increase in the production of palm oil was regarded by the U.S. as a danger to its soybean oil market. Campaigns were started with the objective of pushing the tropic oils out of the country as completely as possible. In addition, new directives concerning labeling were passed, forcing the producers to declare the oils used.

Public health policy was given as a reason; later, this proved to be true to some extent but that explanation was viewed by Malaysia as simply a pretext. Malaysia believed that concern about losses suffered in the production of soy seed was the actual reason (Anonymous 1987). After fractionation, palm olein is a good raw material (see also Chapter 1.4), and for many products and branches of industry, stearin is also used as a consistent fat. It is expected that the U.S. import of tropic fats will level off at ∼750,000 ton per year. Of the laurics (coconut and palm kernel oil), 70% go to oleochemical processing.

The distribution of the individual types of oil fruit has changed considerably (Fig. 1.4) as shown by the comparison of their distribution in 1935, 1960, and 1995. A projection to the year 2000 (data from Mielke 1994) is also given.

Fig. 1.4 Proportion of different vegetable oil sources on the world fat production.

Figures 1.5–1.7 show the production of oils and fats during the last 80 years. The figures refer to the amounts of visible fats produced. A distinction must be made between butter, lard, and olive oil, which represent end products suitable for consumption (Fig. 1.5), vegetable oils and fats (Fig. 1.6), which have to be processed, and oils utilized mainly in industry (Fig. 1.7). To simplify the presentation, tallow, and fish oil, which are generally processed further, are listed together with butter, lard, and olive oil which are consumed as such.

Fig. 1.5 World production of butter, lard, beef tallow, fish oil, and whale oil.

Fig. 1.6 World production of important vegetable oils.

Fig. 1.7 World production of main vegetable oils for industrial usage.

Figure 1.5 shows that the production of whale oil has virtually disappeared, whereas the production of fish oil is ∼10 times higher now. This can be attributed mainly to various new catching methods. However, a stagnation of these figures has to be anticipated, also caused by international campaigns toward sustainable fishing. The high increase in tallow production mirrors the rise in beef production. The growth rates, however, are far lower than those of vegetable fats and oils; tallow is only a by-product. The rapid rise in the production of soybeans, which has increased 50-fold, is clearly visible. The growth rate of sunflower seed is even higher. Compared with these amounts, the production of oil-bearing plants utilized mainly in industry is modest; however, the fact that a considerable amount of the edible oils is used for industrial purposes must be noted (see Chapter 1.6).

By looking at the production of fat and its products, the political development in the world or in particular countries can easily be inferred. Fat production in Germany (see Chapter 1.3.1), for example, was at its lowest level during both World Wars, but also during the great depression in the 1920s and 1930s. For a good supply at low prices and, related to that, an adequate profit for the farmer, the yield per hectare is essential because in the industrial nations only a high yield per hectare promises sufficient returns. However, during times of extensive shutdowns of areas (e.g., the U.S.), there are considerations if models exist that are based on less intensive tillage. The yield per hectare thus keeps rising, but at a far slower pace (Fig. 1.8). It is the yields per hectare that indicate the difference between developing and industrialized countries. Cultivation in Third World countries often takes place on very small farms in poor soil with an insufficient supply of water; for particular regions and their state of affairs, this clearly makes sense. Production in the industrialized countries can vary greatly as well (Fig. 1.9).

Fig. 1.8 Production yields of some selected vegetable oils.

Fig. 1.9 Production yield of some oilseeds in different countries.

Consider this comparison. By feeding cows the yield of 1 hectare (2000–3000 kg on average), only 200–300 kg of milk fat can be produced. Of course, one must admit that, for milk, the production of fat is not the main objective. However, by-products are also gained from most sorts of oil fruit.

Not all influences on production can be controlled even when the means are available. The source of raw materials might be exhausted without the possibility of exercising any influence on it, or the opposite may be the case. For example, the production of fish oil in Peru (one of the largest producers, and for its size, by far the largest producer) decreased from 311,000 ton year in 1976 to virtually zero in 1984. Excessive fishing was not the cause, as was speculated initially, but rather a change in the direction of the Humboldt stream, which shifted its flow 350 km to the west of the Peruvian coast. The fish followed the flow of the stream. The Peruvian boats, equipped for inshore fishing only, were not able to follow the stream, and the entire industry broke down completely. Chile profited from this: its catches in 1989 amounted to ∼6 million ton and ∼260,000 ton of fish oil were derived from it.

The opposite occurred in the insular republics of South East Asia. There, devastating typhoons had gravely affected the coconut crop over many years. Without any identifiable reason, the typhoons changed direction, and the coconut industry began prospering again.

World affairs interfere considerably with the production of oil but in different ways than the natural influences listed above. Their influence on oil prices is especially evident (Figs. 1.10 and 1.11). Wars, but also energy crises are mirrored here, although the supply of edible oil has hardly any relation to the production of mineral oil. Depending on the type, the price of vegetable oils is higher or lower than that of soybean oil, whereas the market value of animal fats lies, without exception, below that of soybean oil. However, it must be considered that fish oil, with very few exceptions, is used primarily in hardened form, so that in comparison with tallow and lard, the costs for hardening have to be taken into account. Tallow is usually fractionated before use.

Fig. 1.10 World market prices of important vegetable oils.

Fig. 1.11 World market price of some animal fats. (soybean oil as comparison)

Because soybean oil has developed into the predominant oil, the prices of the other oils are to a certain extent dependent on that of soybean oil (Figs. 1.12 and 1.13). These figures show prices leveling off in years when edible oils strongly forced their way into the market and the difference in price for soybean oil, which has been relatively constant (except for some peaks). They also give an idea of the relative value of the various oils and fats.

Fig. 1.12 World market price difference of some vegetable oils and fats to the price of soybean oil.

Fig. 1.13 World market price difference of some animal fats to the price of soybean oil.

Considering the large volumes of oil produced, the high growth rates and the competitive situation, it is no surprise that oil prices have declined relatively. Depicted in U.S. $ against inflation in the U.S., it becomes obvious that oil prices in January 1990, in spite of the increase of the absolute amount in constant money, are only ∼36% of those in January 1965. During 1987, they dropped temporarily to only 25% of 1965 levels (Fig. 1.14). Taking into account the decline of the U.S. $ in proportion to the currencies of some European countries, the oil has become even cheaper. However, this is compensated partially by lower inflation rates (Figs. 1.15 and 1.24).

Fig. 1.14 Price of soybean oil in current and constant money (U.S. $).

Fig. 1.15 Price of soybean oil in U.S. $ and in a stable European currency (DM).

Fig. 1.24 Production of soybeans, rapeseed, and sunflower seed in the European Union.

Because of the historical development of the production of oil fruits in regions completely different from those in which they are consumed, the market has always been international. Oilseeds and oil are usually traded in U.S. $. Because the European countries are not self-sufficient, they have to import oilseeds. For the oil milling industry outside of the U.S., which has to commercialize oil as well as meal, the deviation of the exchange rate of the U.S. $ to the respective currency (Fig. 1.15) is added to the deviation of the price for the raw material. This can exert quite a considerable influence on the market position because products made from vegetable oils and fats always compete with indigenous products (e.g., margarine with butter). In addition, extraction meals have to compete with indigenous fodder. The influence of the deviation of the U.S. $ exchange rates against the only stable European currency (German Mark) is made clear. One realizes that the deviation for the European market can thereby become even larger. In times of a powerful dollar, considerable price discrepancies arise that are difficult to pass on to the customer.

Prices on the world market do not always depend on supply and demand alone, but also on expectations for the volume of the next harvest. Most deals are closed on futures long before the harvest amount is known. Besides the area that is going to be cultivated in the respective year, information about the expected weather is relevant. However, not even a major regional weather-related catastrophe would be capable of influencing prices substantially. The U.S. exhibits the greatest deviations in the area used for cultivation and thus the strongest influence on the amount of crop to be expected. According to the previous year’s supply and achieved prices, areas of smaller or larger size will be shut down. Because soybean oil is by far the most-produced oil, its quantity influences the prices of the other oils and fats as well. Consequently, the number of acres cultivated in the U.S. in the respective year plays a very important role in the equation. During times of high supply, prices usually drop at harvest time and rise when the provisions run short. During this process, the quality usually declines as well; therefore Brazilian and Argentinean producers generally wait until the supply of the crop in the Northern hemisphere is exhausted, or the quality declines, before they commercialize their crop. This is the only way to obtain good prices for relatively smaller producers with higher transportation costs. As a result of intensified cultivation in the Southern hemisphere, fresh soybeans are available twice a year.

Apart from production and availability, demand also plays a decisive role in price. When comparing demand with availability, we see that the quantities produced were almost without exception higher than the demand (Fig. 1.16). This leads to an accumulation, which depresses the prices. Malaysia alone is said to have had a stock of palm oil of ∼1 million ton in 1988–1989.

Fig. 1.16 Demand and supply balance for vegetable oils and fats (after Batterby).

The economic situation in the large countries that are not self-sufficient and are subject to monetary problems is closely linked to demand, and thus to a high degree, decisive for price development. On the one hand, there is the Soviet Union (respectively, the successor states), where the import of meals as fodder plays an important role. On the other hand, there is India, which represents a huge market with >800 million people. In 1986–1987, ∼2 million ton of oils and fats were imported. The imports in the following years are estimated to be ∼0.5 million ton, but the most recent estimates suggest even lower amounts; however, the demand that cannot be met that way amounts to 1 million ton per year. In contrast to this, it is expected that Pakistan will increase its imports to almost 1 million ton. In view of these markets, the surplus production is within the range of the deviations of the quantities imported by these countries. The demands are thus not regulated by the actual demands, but by the availability of funds.

When we relate the prices for oilseeds on the world market to those for oil, we have to consider that they are determined by the oil content as well as by the usability of the meal as fodder. We see that an intricate web of influences exists that determines the prices. This has direct influence on the supply, more so in some parts of the industrialized countries in which the price for seeds fluctuates around the limit of profitability despite subsidies. Without subsidies, production at today’s prices would not be possible.

For the oil mills, the production of soy seed, for example, means that they have the following net profits (Prices Chicago, May 1990):

*without any running and processing cost, without losses and depending on the oil content.

This margin (however simplistically calculated) is extremely small for a capital-intensive industry such as oil milling, so that small changes in the meal’s marketability or in the price would render the entire enterprise uneconomical.

The economic importance of a raw material, however, reveals itself not only in the supply, but also in the demand. Because oils are traded internationally, their prices are not dependent on the demand in a single country. In addition, there are subsidies for agriculture in many regions. This has repeatedly given rise to international irritations when, for example, the U.S. reproached the European Community for violating the GATT-treaty by means of subsidies and by partially barring the market for agricultural imports (see Chapter 1.3.2). From Brussels’ point of view, these subsidies are necessary to assure some degree of self-supply for certain agricultural goods of the European Community.

Subsidies can have other purposes, for example, as an incentive for structural reorganization. For instance, the Community supported the shift from the cultivation of rape with a high content of erucic acid (HEAR) to that with a low one (LEAR). It was intended to arouse the farmers’ interest in rape, which grows well in temperate climates, and to promote its cultivation instead of root crops and cereals, which are produced in excess. In 1988, the subsidy was 5.90 German marks (∼3.30 U.S. $) per ton of rape (LEAR). The prices the producer can gain for his products on the market, however, are dependent on the demand in an individual country.

In this respect, the price structure of butter and margarine in the individual countries is of interest. In some countries, for a large part of the population, margarine is a substitute for butter. The sales thus depend to a high degree on the relation between the prices for butter and margarine (Fig. 1.17).

Fig. 1.17 Price differential of margarine and butter in Germany.

In Germany, for example, a portion of the consumers buy margarine whenever the price differential to butter increases beyond a certain value. This fact, which applies to other countries as well, was used by the EC-commission to diminish the butter-mountain by bringing butter onto the market at a reduced price. In the period from 1982 to 1985, heavily subsidized butter in the EC amounted to >2.2 million ton. To subsidize this quantity, which replaced 80% of the fresh butter, 1600 ECU per ton had to be paid (>3200 German marks or 1500 U.S. $ per ton at the exchange rates of 1986; Friedeberg 1986).

In other countries, the image of margarine is completely different, and butter plays only a minor role. Interestingly, this also applies to the Netherlands and Denmark (butter/margarine 1:7 and 1:3, respectively), countries that are commonly known as milk countries.

1.3.1 The Economic Importance of Oils and Fats as Well as of Fat Products in Europe and Germany

As stated in the preface, Germany is seen as a particular example of a western European country. In the past 50 years, nutrition habits in industrialized countries have changed drastically (Fig. 1.18), with Germany as an example. (Remark: all data in figures concerning Germany end with the year 1990 because data after the reunification would not be comparable.) In spite of diminishing hard physical labor, caloric intake has grown, and despite the findings and recommendations of nutritionists, the percentage of fat in the diet has increased. Since 1850, the consumption of fat in industrialized countries has risen constantly. It is assumed that the German population satisfies ∼40% of its energy demand with fats and oils. Currently, the amounts consumed consist of approximately equal shares of butter, margarine, and edible oil, as well as tallow and lard (Fig. 1.19).

Fig. 1.18 Per capita consumption of different food in Germany.

Fig. 1.19 Proportion of some fats and oils on total fat intake.

The proportion of margarine has dropped since the 1950s in favor of edible oil and fat. The market for emulsion fats altogether is currently dropping at a rate of ∼3% per year. The shift in proportions is disadvantageous for the visible fats, whose proportion or intake can be controlled consciously, and favors the invisible fats (proportion ∼1:1). Currently, the annual per capita consumption amounts to ∼30 kg of visible fats (Fig. 1.20).

Fig. 1.20 Per capita consumption of visible oils and fats in Germany.

The history of fat policy in Germany (which is representative of other European countries) is depicted comprehensively by Schüttauf and Pischel (1978), whose work is referred to in part in the following paragraphs. Their overview reflects the political turmoil in Europe during the last 80 years.

Today, Germany’s self-sufficiency concerning vegetable oils and fats is quite low. About 90% of the raw materials are imported. In the early 1900s, Germany’s self-sufficiency for fats and oils was ∼50%; between 1945 and the present time, the overall self-sufficiency is ∼40%. Despite these shortcomings, there have always been attempts to impose special taxes on the import of oils and fats (fat-tax). Actually, this tax has never been directed against the fats themselves, but against fat products, especially margarine.

Toward the end of the last century, with the introduction of margarine, the first legal restraints were introduced; initially, these amounted only to sale restraints (e.g., no butter and margarine in the same room). However, a duty was imposed on the import of margarine or equivalent oil mixtures according to Bismarck’s policy of protective duties. Because this duty did not apply to individual oils but only to oil compounds or to finished products such as margarine, the first margarine plants were built directly along the border in The Netherlands, which were most progressive, so that transportation costs for the duty-free raw materials were as low as possible.

During World War I, a considerable shortage of fat occurred. Naturally, imported fats and oils became scarce first, so that fats for margarine were not available in sufficient quantity. From 1917 on, only one third of the required volume of fat could be put on the market. In the respective figures, this becomes apparent through the lows in margarine production, and better yet, in the contrary development of the fraction of margarine and butter at that time. During the time of inflation, caused by the putative upswing during the postwar period, the number of margarine plants in Germany rose to several hundred (today the number is ∼10).

On May 1, 1933, a fat-tax, combined with a fixing of quotas, came into effect in the Third Reich. The production of margarine was frozen at 60% of the 4th-quarter output of 1932; moreover, a tax of 0.50 Reichsmark per kilogram of margarine, edible oil, hardened vegetable oil and whale oil was inflicted. An Agency of the Reich for milk products, oils, and fats was established. Soon, only a standardized margarine, packed in a simple, brown, unattractive wrapper was permitted to be marketed. As a consequence, 115 out of 148 margarine plants were forced to close.

It was not until 1949 that branded margarine products were again permitted to be sold. However, at about the same time, the oil milling industry was financially hard hit because it was forced to sell to the agriculture sector meal at 50% of the world market prices. A fat-tax was again considered in 1950. It was prevented by protests from labor unions and social associations. Instead of the fat-tax, vegetable oils and fats were subsidized through the end of the Korean War.

In later years, the fat-tax was considered several times, mainly during the times when there was an excess of butter, the so-called butter mountain, in the European Community. The fat-tax was consistently prevented. The primary reasons for the failure of the fat-tax included strong protests from consumer groups who feared higher prices. Another reason for the failure of the fat-tax was intervention by the U.S. (different reason than before), who did not want to see its export of soy products diminish because of the enormous rise in U.S. soybean production. At that time, the American soy farmers were feeling the effects of poor prices for their crop. Finally, this would have been the first tax that the EC could have inflicted, and increased independently from the individual governments. The EC certainly needed the revenues because subsidies of other agricultural products amounted to several hundred per cent (i.e., in 1977, 220% for butter and 107% for olive oil).

The prices for fats and oils in Germany (as in other European countries with hard currency) in terms of constant money have developed differently from those in the U.S. Two opposing influences are operating here, i.e., the substantially lower inflation rate in Germany compared with that of the U.S. (over a period of 30 years from 1965 to 1995, only ∼56% of the U.S. rate) and the depreciation of the U.S. $ with respect to the German mark (from 1965 to 1990, ∼45%). The effect is clearly visible in Figure 1.21. Presenting the price for soy on the world market in U.S. $ as well as in German marks, according to the respective exchange rate and with an adjustment for inflation, one can see that soybean oil in Germany in terms of constant money costs only ∼30% of the amount in 1965 (U.S.: 36%; Fig, 1.21). This is reflected in the consumer prices for oils and products consisting mainly of oils and illustrates some of the problems of the fats and oil industry as a whole.

Fig. 1.21 Price of soybean oil in current U.S. $, and current and constant DM.

After the reduction of the butter-mountain, which had temporarily reached >1.4 million ton, by means of regulative measures by the EC (quotas for milk), a certain pressure to intervene for regulating purposes has subsided. The next decisive step will be the integration of the different forms of agricultural producers in the new and old federal states of Germany into an all-German system. In the new states, a potential for the production of oilseeds is building up; in relation to the population, it is larger than that in pre-unification Germany. The European Union will be faced with the same problem when considering the membership of Eastern European countries such as Poland.

Figures 1.22 and 1.23 reflect the situation in the German oil milling industry, which crushes about two thirds of the oil consumed. The development of the amounts of oil produced per variety reflects the European Union’s move towards rape and sunflower, and the crushings demonstrate the dominance of these two oilseeds over soybeans. Although more southern countries such as France are crushing relatively more domestically grown sunflower seed, this picture can be regarded as typical for Western Europe.

Fig. 1.22 Oil produced in German oil mills.

Fig. 1.23 Seed processed in German oil mills.

In spite of the difficulties with earnings and profits and the strong competition from abroad, the quantities processed increased until 1980 and have since remained relatively stable. This is partly a result of the trend to move the mills closer to the large sea harbors, such as Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The quantity of extracted oil has increased because the oil content of rapeseed is higher than that of soybeans. In the processing of soft seeds (rape/sunflower), the Central European mills will thus have greater chances of competition than in crushing soybeans.

1.3.2 Oil Politics in the European Community

At the time when the guidelines of the EC-agricultural policy, which also encompasses the production of oil, were laid down, the degree of self-supply for vegetable oils (except olive oil, which is regulated separately) was <10% and that of vegetable proteins <5%. In the course of the past years, this figure has risen to >50% for vegetable oils (Fig. 1.24). Certain types (rapeseed, sunflower seed) are even exported (Friedeberg 1989). The production is subsidized and protected by duties; in 1962, the EC committed itself in the Dillon-round of the GATT-treaty to not raise the duties on oilseeds, oils, and meals. The subsidies rose from ∼0.1 billion ECU in 1977 to ∼3 billion ECU per year in 1988 and have remained on this level.

Subsidies were granted without limits on volumes and represented the difference between a representative price on the world market and a desired price (both fixed by the EC-commission for one year). The subsidies are paid via the oil mills.

As mentioned above, there are no limits on the acreage and the quantity produced and thus no limits on the total amount of subsidies for an individual producer or, equally, the EC. By changing the targeted price, an incentive to produce oil fruit was created that led to the explosion of quantities as illustrated above. Friedeberg assumed two motives by the EC-commission for this policy. On the one hand, there was the uneasiness in being dependent on others (low degree of self-supply), supported by a very brief embargo on soybeans by the U.S. in 1973; on the other hand, there was the attempt to reduce the weight of the subsidies on grains, which oppressed the Community’s budget. By means of this policy, the support for the production of oilseeds became the third highest item in the EC’s agricultural expenses. The magnitude of the subsidies unduly burdens both the budget and the relationships to nations with large agricultural exports. In 1988, the U.S. issued a formal complaint for the first time concerning the violation of GATT.

As a mechanism of stabilization, the commission proposed a fat-tax, which created quite a stir internationally and provoked the U.S. to threaten counteraction. After great protests by most

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