Cocoa butter equivalent (CBE) formulation, especially the compatibility of palm oil based CBE with cocoa butter, is of special interest to chocolate manufacturers. Traditionally palm oil is fractionated to obtain high-melting stearin and olein with a clear point of around 25 C, the latter serving as cooking oil. Recently, palm oil has been fractionated to recover an intermediate fraction known as palm mid-fraction (PMF), which is suitable for CBE formulations.
Generally, production of PMF is based on a three-step procedure. However, a dry fractionation system, which includes selective crystallization and removal of liquid olein by means of a hydraulic press, has been developed. Iodine value, solid content (SFI) at different temperatures, cooling curves (Shukoff 0°) and triglyceride/fatty acid composition determination confirmed effectiveness of the procedure followed. A direct relationship between yield, quality of PMF and crystallization temperature during fractionation has been achieved. Yield of 60% for olein of IV 64–67 has been achieved. Yield of 30% for PMF of IV 36–38 and 10% for high melting stearin of IV of 20–22 are also being achieved.
High-melting stearin may be used in oleochemical applications, soaps, food emulsifiers and other industrial applications such as lubricating oil. Olein fraction, especially after flash hydrogenation thereby reducing the IV to 62/64, has excellent frying and cooking oil characteristics. Palm olein is also suitable as dietary fat and in infant formulation. Studies on interesterification of high-melting stearin with olein showed possibilities to formulate hardstocks for margarine and spread formulations, even without using hydrogenated fat components.
Palm kernel and coconut fats or fractions or derived products are used for confectionery products as partial CB replacers and as ice cream fats and coatings. Coconut oil also serves as a starting material for the production of medium-chain triglycerides.