KUALA LUMPUR: Europe remains a challenging market for the palm oil industry due to various campaigns against the commodity in the region, says the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

“This includes the misleading “no palm oil labelling” (NPO). Europe remains a challenge. The Food Information for Consumers, which is the new food regulation in Europe, has come into place.

“Honestly, from the background I come from, I would applaud that the Europeans would be more precise in executing the labelling,” MPOC Deputy Chief Executive and Director, Science & Environment Dr Kalyana Sundram said at the Palm & Lauric Oils Conference and Exhibition here today.

He said the consumer perception is totally disconnected from the legal angle and that is what the industry needs to look at.

“We are not doing this alone anymore. We need our European partners, major palm oil users, manufacturers such as Unilever and Danone to come out and say that palm oil is sustainable.

“It is a long process but a much needed one to sustain the palm oil market,” he added.

A study by the industry revealed that in 2013, 328 products were identified as NPO in France and Belgium, up from 189 products in 2012.

In 2013, 39 producers replaced palm oil in their products with other fats, mainly sunflower oil. -- BERNAMA