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Promoting Sustainable Consumption of Palm Oil through Health in an Emerging Economy

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Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, producing over 19.5 million tonnes of crude palm oil. In 2018, the palm oil industry has contributed 4.5 per cent to the Malaysian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The shows that the palm oil industry significantly contributes to the country’s economy and indirectly, has improved socioeconomic welfare of smallholders. Concurrently, there is an ongoing campaign against the commodity in Europe, which criticize that our palm oil is unsustainable and thus, bring negative impact to palm oil exports. No doubt, it is hard to win over anti palm oil claims. As a result of this, this research highlights the need to boost domestic palm oil consumption. The research objectives of this study intend to: (i) understand the behaviour of consumer when purchasing food products containing palm oil, (ii) investigate consumers’ awareness regarding the presence of palm oil as ingredients in edible products that consumers could relate to health, and (iii) develop marketing strategies to promote food products that contains palm oil in a natural and healthy food market. There are two implications that could be drawn from the outcome of this study. Firstly, given that Malaysia is perceived as an emerging market, the output of this research is to ensure that our palm oil industry remains stable backed by demand from domestic consumption. Therefore, smallholders’ welfare is guaranteed by the constant demand for palm oil products. This research is aligned with the nation’s current policies which is to enhance the wellbeing of smallholders in the palm oil industry. Next, by promoting food products containing palm oil in a natural and healthy food market adds value to the palm oil industry. Hence, this research is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, which is promoting good health and well-being to the society.

For further information: norshamliza@ukm.edu.my

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