Crude palm oil is a plant oil derived from palm fruits. Palm oil is also extracted from the kernel: palm kernel oil. Many food products contain palm oil, including margarine, baby food, crisps, soups, sauces, and biscuits. In addition, palm oil is used as raw material in animal feeds, soap, shampoo, cosmetics, and biodiesel production.

India is the largest net importer of palm oil and consumes almost 10% of global production – making it one of the largest markets for the commodity. In India, palm oil consumption has increased by almost 230% over the last two decades. Annual consumption significantly exceeds domestic production. India imports the bulk of its palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.



Palm oil lies at the core of India’s edible oil market owing to its low prices and the country’s need for food security. Understanding palm and its various derivatives and the daily interaction with the commodity through various segments (cosmetics, confectionery, pharmaceuticals and others) remains limited in the Indian consumer context. The deforestation risk associated with palm its ecological footprint is not realized given negligible media attention and the absence of on-product labeling.

As the largest importer, India can drive the demand for sustainable palm oil and bring it from niche to norm starting with Asia and the global South.

Through our Palm Oil Markets program in India, IDH works on

  1. Market Convening;
  2. Policy Engagement;