The oil palm and palm oil fruits
The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) comes originally from west Africa and had been used there for centuries.
Around 1900 the first plantations emerged in West Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia. Only by that time it was possible to use the perishable fruits industrially.
Processed palm fat is durable, heat stable and firm at room temperature, making it easy to transport.
Since the oil palm tree is dependant on tropical conditions, its intense cultivations on huge plantations is a threat for the tropical rain forests.