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By Devane Sharma


In response to the growing demand for skin-friendly and natural surfactants, Musim Mas has unveiled its new MASPHATE® CD 100N. This quality surfactant is also 100% coconut-derived, unlike most sodium coco sulphate (SCS) surfactants, marking a significant step toward meeting the evolving needs of the Home and Personal Care (HPC) sector. In this article, we’ll explore the growing trends in surfactants, Musim Mas’ solution to address these trends, and the group’s commitment to sustainability.

Surfactant Trends

The HPC sector is experiencing a notable shift in consumer preferences, with a heightened awareness of the potential effects of various ingredients on the skin. Factors such as the rise in sensitive skin concerns, increased awareness of ingredient impact, innovation in formulations, and evolving regulatory environments, particularly concerning substances like 1,4-dioxane, are driving this change.

Moreover, there is a parallel surge in the demand for environmentally friendly surfactants, with consumers and manufacturers alike recognizing the importance of transitioning from petroleum-based ingredients to renewable, bio-based materials. Statistics indicate a growing global inclination towards sustainable products, highlighting the need for eco-friendly alternatives in the surfactant industry.

Musim Mas’ Solution

In response to these trends, Musim Mas has launched MASPHATE® CD100N, a high-quality surfactant derived exclusively from coconut. Unlike other surfactants in its class, MASPHATE® CD100N is a Sodium Coco Sulphate (SCS) based surfactant that distinguishes itself by being 100% coconut-derived, offering HPC producers an opportunity to diversify their feedstock and product portfolios.

1.      Skin-Friendly

MASPHATE® CD100N boasts a larger molecular structure, resulting in a milder impact on the skin and significantly less irritation compared to traditional surfactants.

2.      Free of 1,4-Dioxane

Addressing regulatory concerns, MASPHATE® CD100N is entirely free of 1,4-dioxane, providing consumers with a safe and reliable choice for their personal care products.

3.      Natural and Biodegradable

Derived from 100% coconut oil, MASPHATE® CD100N aligns with the growing demand for natural and biodegradable ingredients.

4.      Luxurious Foam and Viscosity

Offering excellent viscosity and producing a luxurious foam, MASPHATE® CD100N enhances the sensory experience of personal care products.

5.      Versatile Applications

MASPHATE® CD100N finds applications in a broad range of products, including syndet bars, body washes, and other personal care formulations.

6.      Scientific Validation:

MASPHATE® CD100N has undergone rigorous scientific evaluation by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, which deemed it safe for use in cosmetic formulations and is listed on CleanGredients’ Safer Choice standard. The product is tested in state-of-the-art laboratories, and adheres to Musim Mas’ stringent quality standards including ISO 9001.

Musim Mas’ Leading Sustainability Reputation

Leveraging its strong reputation for quality and sustainability in the palm oil sector, Musim Mas extends these principles to its coconut products and derivatives. Musim Mas is committed to 100% traceability for our coconut sourcing.

MASPHATE® CD100N also aligns with environmental certifications, meeting the U.S. EPA Safer Choice and being listed on, further affirming Musim Mas’ commitment to producing eco-friendly and sustainable products.

Get in Touch With Us to Find Out More

Musim Mas’ introduction of MASPHATE® CD100N marks a significant milestone in the surfactant industry, addressing the growing demand for skin-friendly and environmentally sustainable alternatives. As consumer preferences continue to evolve, innovations like MASPHATE® CD100N demonstrate the industry’s commitment to meeting these changing needs while upholding the highest standards of quality and sustainability. To find out more about MASPHATE® CD 100N, click here. Contact us at this link for enquiries.

Cocoa butter is one of the main ingredients in chocolates. It is responsible for dark, milk and white chocolates’ glossy appearance, texture, and melt properties. However, cocoa butter is often the most expensive in chocolate products, and consumers are increasingly price-sensitive. Cocoa butter alternatives like Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE) can reduce costs. This article will help you understand what CBE is, its applications in chocolates, and the new CBE Choco® NE50 produced by Musim Mas Group.

What is Cocoa Butter Equivalent?

CBE is derived from palm oil and typically contains one or more exotic vegetable fats, i.e., shea, illipe, kokum, and sal butter. These fat components are carefully selected to resemble the triacylglycerol composition of cocoa butter.

What are the Applications for Cocoa Butter Equivalent?

According to the European Union Chocolate Directive 2000/36/EC, adding up to 5%wt (percentage by weight) of CBE is allowed in chocolate. Other markets differ in terms of the proportion of dry cocoa solids and cocoa butter required, so a higher proportion of CBE might be possible. In some countries, if the dry cocoa solids and a certain percentage of cocoa butter are met, local regulation permits a higher percentage of CBE. Another application is for supercoatings, where CBE fully replaces cocoa butter in recipes.

Without exotic vegetable fat, it was only possible to use a small percentage of normal-grade fractionated palm oil in chocolate because it is not fully compatible with cocoa butter. There are many technical difficulties related to working viscosity, tempering, de-moulding properties, and shelf stability of the chocolates.

Introducing CBE Choco® NE50

By adopting a multi-stage fractionation technology, we can produce new CBE without exotic vegetable fats, and use only palm oil instead, which is rich in palmitic symmetrical monounsaturated triacylglycerols (SUS) – new Musim Mas CBE Choco® NE50 is one such product, and it is compatible and miscible with cocoa butter in any proportion.

CBE Choco® NE50 can replace 5%wt of cocoa butter in chocolates or even fully replace cocoa butter in supercoatings (refer to the proposed recipe in Table 1).

Table 1. Chocolates and supercoatings recipe containing CBE Choco® NE50.

Ingredient Chocolate (%) Supercoating (%)
Sugar 39.5 39.5
Cocoa Mass 40.0 16.0
Cocoa Butter 10.0
Cocoa Powder 5.0 6.0
Skimmed Milk Powder 11.0
CBE Choco® NE50 5.0 27.0
Emulsifier: Lecithin 0.5 0.5
Vanillin / Vanilla Flavouring ++ ++
Total 100.0 100.0

CBE Choco® NE50 Can Help Retain Quality and Improve the Sensory Properties

Both chocolates and supercoatings require tempering, and it is crucial that CBE has no or minimal impact on the chocolate’s working viscosity. Good tempering is determined by using a temper meter and achieving a temper index of 4 – 6. CBE Choco® NE50 makes it easier to achieve this optimal temper index. When good tempering is achieved, good de-moulding (mould release) properties, surface gloss, snap and hardness can be expected. CBE Choco® NE50 also helps supercoatings achieve good gloss retention at room temperature (20 oC and 25 oC), and retain their quality and sensory properties due to its high palmitic symmetrical monounsaturated triacylglycerols content. Supercoatings based on CBE Choco® NE50 demonstrate good melting properties, non-waxiness, and excellent chocolate flavor release (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Sensory spidergram of supercoatings based on CBE Choco® NE50 and standard CBE

Musim Mas Enables Confectionery Innovations

In a typical chocolate formulation, it can contain 10 – 15% of added cocoa butter. Confectionery manufacturers are replacing cocoa butter with CBEs derived from fractionated palm oil and exotic vegetable fat because of price and functionality. On the other hand, there is an increased demand for exotic vegetable fats in all areas, including non-food industries. CBE Choco® NE50 is an optimal solution for a more sustainable alternative to cocoa butter.

“As the confectionery market is moving towards affordable premiumization and indulgence, palm-based CBE could be a better option, both in terms of sustainable supply and consistent quality,” said Fifiani, R&D Manager of PT Musim Mas. CBE Choco® NE50 is trans-fat-free and shows no considerable difference in taste and sensory properties than standard CBE.

Musim Mas Group is a leading sustainable palm oil producer. The integrated palm oil corporation is the first major palm oil group to be fully certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil for all its plantations with mills. Musim Mas aspires to be a responsible leader, driving a new era of sustainability in the industry with innovation. To that end, the Group is taking active steps to exceed industry-recognized sustainability standards and will continue to respond to critical industry issues to contribute to a more sustainable industry and world. To find out more about our CBE Choco ® NE50 and other specialty fat ranges, contact us at for more info.

By Devane Sharma

Musim Mas’ efforts for the sustainable production of palm oil extends not just to its supply base but also beyond. The group aims to engage all its stakeholders in the supply chain. The group has begun extending its efforts to third-party FFB (Fresh Fruit Bunches) dealers, who typically source from independent smallholders and smaller plantations. Musim Mas believes training FFB dealers on compliance with the sustainability principles of “No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation (NDPE)  will create exponential value for the sustainable production of palm oil as the dealers can, in turn, train the smallholders they source from.

From Smallholder Farmers to Downstream Refineries: The Long Palm Oil Supply Chain

The palm oil supply chain is long and complex. Its production, milling, and refining involve many stakeholders and multiple layers of intermediaries. Approximately half of the primary growers are smallholder farmers who cultivate the crop and harvest the Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs). FFBs then move through sub-agents, dealers, and more prominent supplier traders before reaching larger companies for further processing. After processing, the crude palm oil is transported to refineries, where it is processed into derivatives that can range for emulsifiers for beverages to fatty alcohols for cleaning agents and many others.

Ensuring traceability and sustainable practices along the supply chain is challenging. Hence, promoting NDPE principles to all stakeholders across the supply chain is vital in applying sustainable principles robustly and consistently.

Helping Smaller Dealers Get on the Sustainable Production Journey

Recognizing the significance of having an NDPE-compliant palm oil supply chain, Musim Mas has started training dealers, who are the intermediaries between the smallholder farmers and companies down the supply chain who mill and refine palm oil. The training aims to ensure that NDPE principles are adopted across the supply chain and that there is robust implementation.

Dealers source from hundreds of sub-agents and smallholders, forming an extensive network of connected stakeholders. By empowering these dealers with NDPE knowledge, they, in turn, can educate and encourage their suppliers to adhere to sustainability practices, extending the impact far beyond one company’s immediate reach.

Workshop for Dealers

Beginning in 2020, Musim Mas, along with other palm oil companies in Malaysia, contracted consultants at Proforest to engage palm oil dealers for an exercise to increase Traceability-to-Plantation. The group used methods such as mapping, establishing sourcing relations, gathering baseline data for dealers to understand their needs, promoting NDPE principles and implementation in their FFB supply, and encouraging certification uptake.

As of June 2023, mapping of the supply base and sourcing relationships have been established, and the needs of dealers for sustainable and efficient production have been established.

The program was followed by a training workshop and discussion conducted in Muar, Malaysia, in June 2023 by Proforest. This was in partnership with palm oil producers with operations in Malaysia.

Malaysia accounts for 6% of the group’s procurement needs, with 93% of the group’s CPO sourced from Indonesia. Musim Mas has implemented similar programs in Indonesia, and the group is now embarking on its program for its Malaysia supply.

The voluntary participation by palm oil dealers is encouraging, and Musim Mas hopes to extend its training efforts to other regions in the future. Musim Mas and its peers are committed to collective efforts to drive meaningful change throughout the palm oil sector.

By Chermaine Yap

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, has proclaimed an end to global warming and the beginning of “global boiling”. The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) assigned a red rating to the 2023 haze outlook marking the highest risk level for haze, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

In the era of “global boiling,” how is the palm oil industry equipped to manage fire risks?

Positive Shifts in Palm Oil Industry

The palm oil industry has historically been closely linked to slash-and-burn deforestation and the transboundary haze for years.

The intense scrutiny of the industry has since resulted in more robust regulations and voluntary corporate no-deforestation commitments, also known as No Deforestation and No Peat pledges since 2014.

Indonesia and Malaysia shine as deforestation success stories. A recent Global Forest Watch (GFW) data shows Indonesia and Malaysia, major palm oil producers, achieving substantial drops in primary forest loss. Indonesia’s deforestation decreased by 64% in 2015-2017 and 2020-2022, leading all tropical nations.

Fig 1. Global Forest Watch’s Primary Forest Loss Graph

Despite recent haze-free years, the palm oil industry, including companies like Musim Mas, maintains its vigilance against fires and takes steps to prevent and manage fire risks.

1. From fire management to fire prevention

We track our supply chain to detect deforestation, peat development, and fires. Employing advanced technologies, Musim Mas utilizes early-warning systems to mitigate fire risks throughout our operations and supply base. This encompasses remote sensing through closed-circuit television (CCTV) and satellite monitoring platforms. In 2019, the palm oil sector collaborated on a radar monitoring innovation called Radar Alerts for Detecting Deforestation (RADD), enabling near-real-time identification of deforestation.

Fig. 2 CCTV located within our plantations to monitor our concessions.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) identify fire-prone spots, ensuring daily hotspot checks across our concessions and supply base. While technology aids hotspot monitoring, it’s crucial to recognize that hotspots provide only a partial picture. Ground checks and drone surveys ensure accurate assessments, especially in remote areas.

Fig. 3 Our Sustainability and Traceability teams conduct daily hotspot monitoring of our concessions.

Palm oil plantations deploy strategic firebreaks and reservoirs to curtail fire spread and reduce its impact. Our skilled firefighters have since extended aid beyond our concessions.

We also educate local communities, empowering them with fire prevention knowledge and training through initiatives like the Fire-Free Village Program (FFVP) and ensuring their preparedness. The palm oil sector engages communities through these efforts, fostering behavioral change and active involvement in fire prevention.

Fig. 4 Fire breaks within our concessions to slow down the spread of fres, should it occur.

2. From working with our suppliers who sell directly to us to working with smallholders who sell indirectly to us

Around 41% of Indonesia’s current palm oil production area is attributed to independent smallholders, and it is projected to reach 60% by 2030. Engaging with these smallholders is crucial for promoting sustainable palm oil practices, given their potential for enhanced productivity and sustainability. Despite their importance, these smallholders face obstacles such as limited guidance, market access, and financial resources, leading to practices like slash-and-burn deforestation for increased yields.

We went beyond our supply base to work directly with indirect independent smallholders who may or may not sell to us.

Since 2015, we started training initiatives for smallholders, such as replanting, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and financial literacy. Musim Mas’ Independent Smallholders’ program integrates them into sustainable supply chains, aided by collaboration with the Indonesian Oil Palm Estate Fund Agency for replanting.

3. From single company approach to working with others

From the outset, we’ve recognized the imperative of collective efforts. Fire risk mitigation hinges on collaboration—no single entity can tackle this challenge alone. The palm oil industry works with the Indonesian government, non-governmental organizations, and supply chain partners to share best practices, exchange knowledge, and coordinate fire prevention strategies. Roundtable discussions and partnerships foster dialogue and cooperation among industry players, ensuring a coordinated approach to addressing fire-related challenges.

The Fire-Free Alliance exemplifies this collaboration—a multi-stakeholder coalition including palm oil and forestry firms working to address haze and forest fire concerns.

Capitalizing on the lessons learned, the palm oil industry is well-positioned to redefine its narrative. The immense challenge to ensuring that most of our industry is now covered by an NDPE commitment, responsible practices, innovation landscape solutions, and stringent government regulations reflects our comprehensive approach to fire mitigation in this era of “global boiling”.

The ice cream market has traditionally gravitated towards lavish options, as exemplified by the world’s most expensive ice cream. The flavor – Cellato’s infamous ‘Byakuya’ – is priced at an astounding $6,696 for just 4.3 ounces. This is responsive to demands for decadent indulgence.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, 1.38 billion gallons of ice cream were produced in the U.S. in 2022; it is the most popular among frozen desserts. Due to the increased demand for this dessert, Fortune Business Insights projected the global ice cream market to reach $104.96 billion in 2029—that’s a 46% increase from $71.52 billion in 2021.

Factors Driving the Demand for Healthier Ice Cream

One key trend is the rising demand for guilt-free ice cream. High lactose intolerance prevalence, as seen in India, bolsters the demand for vegan alternatives. Furthermore, 60% of North America’s population prefers healthier confectionery, desserts, and ice cream. This number of people contributes to an anticipated 3.5% CAGR from 2022 to 2030.

Compared to guilt-free ice cream, the usual ice cream people consume usually has little to no health benefits. The surge in the production of fortified food that offers more than just basic nutrition has heightened this trend. Health concerns are also significant drivers of another trend- for low-calorie ice cream. This, however, is just one facet of a broader array of factors, including:

Diabetes Statistics

It is estimated that about 537 million adults around the world live with diabetes as of 2021. Diabetics must carefully consider their ice cream’s carbohydrate, calorie, and fat content apart from the serving size for health reasons. This emphasizes the industry’s drive to address these dietary restrictions while formulating their products.

Government Regulations

Legal stipulations significantly influence ice cream production from start to finish, with specific laws dictating ingredient quantity to product labeling and marketing. The following requirements have a significant effect on both ice cream production and how people consider a product.

Aside from everything mentioned above, it’s worth noting that some guilt-free ice cream producers emphasize environmental sustainability within their product line. For instance, Breyers’ released an oat milk-based variety, while Alec’s Ice Cream uses organic and carbon-neutral ingredients for its climate-conscious offerings.

The Challenge for Producers

Creating the best low-calorie ice cream out there is one thing, but mimicking the creaminess, mouthfeel, and body of traditional ice cream is a significant challenge. Adjusting the recipes to reduce calories without sacrificing these aspects of the eating experience is a complex task for food producers. They must also adapt formulations while maintaining high customer satisfaction.

How the Right Emulsifier Blends Can Help

In the pursuit of creating exemplary low-calorie ice cream, producers should consider solutions such as the right blend of emulsifiers and hydrocolloids specifically developed for low-calorie ice cream production.

Musim Mas’ MASBLEN® 1401 support low-calorie ice cream and even assists in enhancing mix viscosity and air incorporation, resulting in a creamy texture and good body—vital for an authentic ice cream mouthfeel. Consequently, it simplifies the production process of low-calorie ice cream variants.

Even better, it also offers excellent melting resistance and safeguards against damage from heat shock, which are vital factors for maintaining consistent ice cream quality.

Introducing: The Novel IDEAS Center

We at Musim Mas go the extra mile in assisting food producers across the globe with our application laboratories at the Novel IDEAS Center.

This place is dedicated to developing new solutions for using sustainable palm oil-based functional blends and specialty fats that address various industry needs. Our overarching goal here is to create new formulations that keep pace with emerging food and beverage trends and bring innovative market opportunities closer to their customers through strategic partnerships.

Staffed with application specialists, the Novel IDEAS Center provides hands-on assistance for food producers in trialing and refining their product formulations. This collaborative approach accelerates the product development process and ensures high-quality and market-ready guilt-free ice cream. This state-of-the-art R&D and innovation facility, a critical component of Musim Mas Holdings’ global strategy, is strategically located in Singapore Science Park.

As a leading sustainable palm oil producer, Musim Mas was the first Indonesian palm oil major to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004, and the first to be verified by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) in 2019. Musim Mas offers RSPO-certified MASBLEN®. In addition, all of Musim Mas’ palm oil and derivative products are non-GMO.

Musim Mas , through our subsidiary ICOF, is a leading supplier of oils and fats throughout the ruminant and monogastric feed industries. Our MaxiFat® range of animal feed products caters to the needs of dairy, beef, poultry, and swine feed.

What is Heat Stress in Cattle

Like most other mammals, heat stress in cattle, including dairy cattle and beef cattle, occurs when they produce more heat than they can get rid of through respiration and sweat. Higher temperatures, solar heat, and humidity are the key factors that cause heat stress in cows.

Why Does Heat Stress Matter for Cows?

Heat stress can result in higher body temperatures and have a significant impact on the health and productivity of the herd, including:

Signs of Heat Stress in Cows

In assessing the signs, it’s important to remember that core temperature in cows peaks around two hours after the peak environmental temperature of the day. It then takes them at least six hours to dissipate the heat. Some key signs of heat stress to look out for are:

Preventing Heat Stress

In dairy cows, heat stress can reduce feed intakes and affect rumen function, negatively affecting milk production and often causing milk fat depression. Optimizing the rumen function is critical to help sustain milk fat concentrations.

Fermentable carbohydrates, like sugar, fiber, and starch, heat up when broken down in the rumen. Therefore they are not ideal for heat stress conditions as the cows will have a lower feed intake and stand more to try to cool down and expel energy. This standing can reduce the adequate rumination time and increase the incidences of acidosis, further reducing feed utilization and intake. Ways to prevent heat stress in cows:

How Feeding Protected Fats Can Help Manage Heat Stress in Cows

Feeding bypass fats or protected fats can increase energy density within the ration – Without taking up too much space, help with reproduction rates and improve milk and constituent production.

To reduce the heating effect caused by fermentation in the rumen, consider increasing the fat content within the diet to maintain energy. Unlike carbohydrates, fat is a ‘cool ingredient’ because it bypasses the rumen and is absorbed into the bloodstream.

At ICOF, we offer a range of rumen bypass fats, high in C16, which can prove effective in helping to maintain energy levels without overloading the rumen function. All are produced within our manufacturing facilities.

MaxiFat®: Our high C16 is highly effective at stimulating and lifting milk fat production under heat stress conditions, helping to avoid that inevitable fat decline. MaxiFat® provides the right fats for healthy and productive livestock. Speaking to your nutritionist before making any changes is always advisable, ensuring you meet your intended fatty acid profile to hit your targets.

For more information and to review our full range of offers, please visit our dedicated MaxiFat® site.

By Devane Sharma

Ensuring global food security is becoming increasingly challenging as the world’s population is projected to surpass 9 billion by 2050. Factors such as the need to preserve forests and the potential impact of climate change limits the availability of land that can be harvested sustainably.

Precision agriculture emerges as a promising solution for the agricultural industry to produce more food as efficiently as possible. This article explores the concept and how Musim Mas applies it in its operations to address global food security concerns.

What is Precision Agriculture?

Precision agriculture, or precision farming, is a science-based method that optimizes crop productivity and yields. It gained prominence in the 1980s with the advent of Information Technology (IT) and satellite monitoring. By leveraging IT and satellite imagery, this approach provides farmers with precise data to optimize the use of resources like land, water, fertilizers, and pesticides.

Precision Agriculture Leverages on Data for Optimal Efficiency

Firstly, precision agriculture minimizes wastage by providing insight into the exact resources required for crop growth. For example, farmers can grow more with a given plot of land without the excessive use of fertilizers. This reduces run-offs that pollute water bodies and preserves the surrounding ecosystems around their farms.

Instead of managing farms as a single unit, precision agriculture also uses technologies to customize management to smaller units.

(Above) Our team on the ground verifying the satellite data using a drone

Translating Precision Agriculture Insights into Action

While precision agriculture generates invaluable insights, the next step is to act on it. For instance, satellite data may indicate a lack of nutrients in the topsoil of a specific plot of land. In response, our team can apply the appropriate nutrients, sometimes using automation technologies.

“We carry out detailed soil surveys and classification for all of our plantations,” said Ooi Ling Hoak, the Head of Musim Mas Research and Development (R&D) unit and the Group’s chief agronomist. “We can then focus on conditioning the soil in each area. In some plots, our surveys might show that the soil is too sandy, which isn’t good as it retains water and nutrients poorly. We would apply dried decanter solids or palm fibers to improve the soil quality.” Dried decanter solids and palm fibers are a by-product of the oil palm milling process, obtained and reused in the fields as part of Musim Mas’ zero-waste mills approach for sustainability.

Musim Mas staff conducting a soil profile examination

Reducing Environmental Impact

Another application of precision agriculture is fertilizer and pesticide reduction, which reduces the environmental impact of farming. Operating costs are also minimized, as fertilizers constitute up to 60% of plantation operating costs.

Site-specific data collected through precision agriculture aid in targeted approaches to address pests and disease infestations, such as strategically targeting termite colonies.

“Termites are a pest in oil palm plantations. The queen can lay an egg every three seconds for 30 years, giving birth to an entire kingdom,” said Cheong Yew Loong, Musim Mas’ chief Crop Protectionist. “Once the queen dies, life will not make sense for the kingdom, so for good control, you have to strike where it hurts the most, which is the queen’s chamber.”

Recording fertilizer inputs and yields on smartphones

Musim Mas Invests in Research and Development to Enhance Yields

The application of precision agriculture across Musim Mas’ plantations is part of its holistic focus on innovation for sustainable and high-yielding palm oil production. Using technology like satellite imagery and conducting agronomic research, the Group focuses on improving farming methods and breeding higher-yielding seeds through artificial selection and without genetic modification.

“We believe that the growth in oil palm production should be fueled by efficiency in our farming methods and better-yielding seeds instead of land expansion,” said Wai Meng, Musim Mas Plant Breeder.

Musim Mas’ agronomic research center is pivotal in optimizing yields. Located in its Riau plantation, the center is over 200 hectares, including planted areas. It consists of dedicated units for optimizing agronomy, crop protection, and peatland management, providing Musim Mas’ operations with advanced oil palm planting materials individually tailored to suit different environments. This ensures consistent and optimal yields across all of the Group’s plantations across Indonesia.

Musim Mas’ agronomic research center

Achieving Superior Yields to Meet the World’s Demand for Oils and Fats

The research center provides Musim Mas with inputs for leading standards in agronomic management in its nurseries and plantations. As a result, the Group has achieved yields that are almost twice the global average. The Group’s Crude Palm Oil (CPO) yields in 2022 stood at 5.86 million tons per hectare, significantly higher than the global average of 3.25 million tons per hectare.

Musim Mas will continue to emphasize innovation, from its R&D efforts to apply concepts like precision agriculture on the ground, to ensure its production is as sustainable as possible. As a responsible palm oil producer, Musim Mas believes that such efforts are essential to contribute not just to its production but to meet the world’s needs for oils and fats.




By: Yeo Yu Teng

In a world where family sizes are shrinking and bread consumption is stretched across the week, knowing the shelf life of this beloved staple has become increasingly important. How long will it last? This question looms as we seek to balance enjoying freshly baked goodness and avoiding waste.

Many factors can influence the shelf life of bread. This article will help you understand those factors and explains how food science enables industrial bakers to extend the shelf life of bread without compromising on quality.

Why extend the shelf life of bread?

Bread that’s past its expiration date becomes stale, hard, and less tasty. It’s also more likely to grow mold and rot. Eating rotten bread can be dangerous because it can make you ill. But suppose bread manufacturers can extend shelf life. In that case, it ensures that even after the relatively lengthy transport and storage time, consumers can still enjoy springy bread days (or sometimes weeks) after it’s baked.

What makes bread go bad?

Bread spoils for two main reasons: microbial spoilage and physical spoilage.

Microbial spoilage is caused by mold, yeast, or bacteria that grows during the packaging or cooling stages after baking. Bread with high water content spoils faster than drier ones, such as sourdough bread.

Physical spoilage happens to the crust and crumb of bread in the form of staling. The crust on fresh bread is dry and crisp but becomes soft and leathery when water migrates from the inner crumb or the crust absorbs moisture from the air. Crumb staling occurs when starch crystallizes, making the crumb firmer and drier.

Here are some ingredients that bread manufacturers add to keep your bread fresh longer.

1. Emulsifiers

How Bread Turns Stale: Explaining the Process Behind Starch Retrogradation

During baking, heat causes the starch granules in the dough to absorb water and swell. This makes the bread spongy and moist. Once out of the oven, the bread begins to cool, and the starch molecules start to retrograde – they rearrange themselves and crystallize to form a network, which also expels the water absorbed during baking. Starch retrogradation is the main reason why bread hardens during storage.

How Emulsifiers Reduce Starch Retrogradation

To prevent this from happening, commercial bakers mix emulsifiers into bread dough. While the primary role of emulsifiers is to help oil and water mix together, they can interact with the starch molecules in the bread.

Emulsifiers bind to a type of starch called amylose, preventing the amylose molecules from forming a gel network among themselves, which would have otherwise contributed to bread staling. Emulsifiers also bind to another type of starch called amylopectin. Although to a lesser extent, it still reduces its crystallization and network formation. By using emulsifiers, we keep the bread softer and more enjoyable to eat, even after it has been stored for some time.

An example is our MASEMUL® EB 1005 emulsifier blend, which functions as a bread texture softener and dough strengthener. It’s a complete solution for bread manufacturers without the need to add additional emulsifiers. The blend improved machinability, bread volume, shape retention, and shelf life.

2. Humectants

Moisture is responsible for the spoilage of many types of food, including bread. Microbial spoilage is more common in bread with a high water activity, which means more water is free or unbounded and thus available for microorganisms to use for growth. Microorganisms like bacteria multiply faster and thrive in a high-moisture environment.

To reduce the water activity in baked goods, bakers may add sugar, honey, or glycerine to their dough. Glycerine, or glycerol, is a sugar alcohol derived from animal or plant fat that functions as a humectant. An example is our MASCEROL® Refined Glycerine derived from plant-based sources like sustainable palm oil.

The natural preservative reduces water activity by attracting and binding free moisture, reducing the amount that’s available for microorganisms to use. The sweet and colorless liquid helps the bread remain soft and springy for longer, increasing its shelf life.

3. Enzymes

Bread bought from grocery stores seems to last forever because they add enzymes, such as amylase, to bread dough. Amylase is an enzyme that naturally occurs in our bodies and many plants.

The enzyme acts like a pair of scissors and cuts the long starch molecule strands into smaller sugar fragments. These simpler fragments don’t crystallize as strongly as starch molecules, helping the bread remain softer for longer. These simple sugars also act as humectants and attract free water, which helps to retain moisture in the bread and slows staling.

4. Mold Inhibitors

Bread is a delicious food but can also be a tasty treat for mold. Mold is a type of fungus that grows on bread when it’s exposed to moisture and warmth. It can make the bread look fuzzy, change its smell, and even produce harmful toxins.

To slow down the growth of mold, bread producers add mold inhibitors to bread. They work by reducing the pH of the bread, creating an acidic environment that slows down the initial growth of mold. Natural mold inhibitors include organic acids like vinegar, raisin juice, and citric acid. Synthetic ones have specific anti-mold properties and target select microorganisms. This includes propionates, with calcium propionate being the most commonly used.

5. Hydrocolloids

Hydrocolloids are ingredients that work wonders to keep bread fresh and delicious for longer. The ones commonly used in bread are agar and carrageenan from seaweed, and cellulose and gum acacia from plants.

These unique substances are non-starchy carbohydrate polymers that attract water. Hydrocolloids can retain moisture in the bread. This is important because moisture plays a crucial role in the freshness and softness of bread. By holding onto water, hydrocolloids help prevent the bread from drying out too quickly, thus maintaining its moistness for longer.

Musim Mas Offers a Wide Range of Emulsifiers for Your Needs

Musim Mas stands as a reliable provider, offering a diverse range of emulsifier blends tailored to meet various application needs.

With the introduction of our cutting-edge emulsifiers, MASEMUL® EB 1008 and EB 1009 DATEM Replacers, we’ve successfully developed cost-effective alternatives to DATEM while preserving essential dough-strengthening properties.

Another example is our MASEMUL® EB 1006, which caters to the demands of bun production, while MASEMUL® EB 1007 caters to the requirements of pizza making.

At Musim Mas, we pride ourselves on fostering close collaboration with our valued customers, enabling us to deliver customized solutions that address their unique challenges. Experience the excellence of our emulsifier blends and unlock new possibilities and innovations in your food production processes with us.

By Devane Sharma

Palm oil is the most widely-consumed vegetable oil globally. It is found in up to 50% of packaged products on supermarket shelves. Palm oil and its derivatives are highly versatile for food uses, providing a multitude of properties when needed, ranging from shelf-stability to aeration. Its applications are as wide-ranging as biscuits to plant-based whipped creams and cooking oil.

However, many consumers have the impression that palm oil is bad for health. Many of the claims are misconstrued, and some are simply untrue. Here are six of the most common misconceptions about palm oil and health.

Misconception 1: Palm oil is high in trans fat

Palm oil is actually trans fat-free. In contrast, products made using other vegetable oils like soybean and sunflower oil may contain trans fat if they are partially hydrogenated. This occurs when they are processed from a liquid to a semi-solid state for food applications. In contrast, palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature and does not need to be partially hydrogenated. This property is part of why palm oil is so prevalent in packaged supermarket food such as biscuits and chocolates.


Misconception 2: Palm oil contains cholesterol

Like other vegetable oils, there is no cholesterol in palm oil. However, palm oil is roughly 50% saturated fats. Saturated fats can be converted to cholesterol by the body. Some studies have found that palm oil consumption produced LDL or “bad” cholesterol in slightly higher amounts than other vegetable oil. However, palm oil also increased HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.


Misconception 3: Palm oil is bad for the heart

While roughly half of palm oil’s fat content is saturated, it is less than butter at 63% and coconut oil at over 80%. As with all sources of fat, palm oil should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. When consumed in moderation, studies have found that palm oil “does not have incremental risk for cardiovascular disease”.


Misconception 4: Palm has no vitamins

Palm oil is high in Vitamin E at over 15 milligrams per 100 grams. Additionally, 70% of the Vitamin E found in palm oil is tocotrienols, a less-common form of vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that tocotrienols may slow the progression of dementia and lower the risk of stroke, in addition to other benefits.


Misconception 5: Palm Oil is damaging to the brain

Being high in Tocotrienol Vitamin E, palm oil has been found to protect brain tissue from free radicals and slow the progression of brain lesions. Another derivative of the palm fruit, palm kernel oil, which comes from the kernel or seed of the fruit, contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are also found in coconut oil. MCT oil is a superfood with numerous health benefits, including aiding the body to produce ketones, an energy source for the brain.


Misconception 6: Palm oil causes cancer

No human study has ever found a link between palm oil consumption and cancer. However, a study showed an association between palmitic acid and the spread of cancer cells in mice. Many of these reports, however, omit that palmitic acid is found in higher concentrations in dairy and meat products at around 50 to 60% of total fats. In comparison, palmitic acid makes up approximately 44% of the total fats in palm oil.

Cooking with oils beyond their smoke point is another risk for potential carcinogens. Palm oil is an excellent choice for cooking, especially deep-frying, as it has a high smoke point. Palm oil is also a rich source of carotenoids, a compound with anti-carcinogenic qualities.


By Devane Sharma

The low-sugar trend is gaining momentum as more consumers prioritize healthier diet choices. With one in ten adults worldwide living with diabetes, the demand for low-sugar food and beverages is rising.

In 2021, the reduced sugar food and beverages market had a market value of $46.18 billion, and it is expected to experience a CAGR of 8.9% from 2022 to 2030. Health concerns caused by the regular consumption of high-sugar products contribute to this growth.

To address these concerns, food and beverage manufacturers are exploring innovative solutions – and one promising ingredient is vegetable glycerin.

Derived from plant oils, vegetable glycerin offers a low glycemic index and the ability to replace sugar while maintaining taste and quality. Its versatility and ability to retain moisture make it an excellent choice for developing low-sugar alternatives in various product categories.

By leveraging vegetable glycerin, manufacturers can cater to health-conscious consumers without compromising on flavor or sensory experience.

This article explores the potential of vegetable glycerin to revolutionize the market for low-sugar food and beverages, providing healthier options for consumers worldwide.

What is vegetable glycerin?

Vegetable glycerin or glycerol, is a liquid derived from plant oils like palm, soy, and coconut. It is a versatile compound with various applications, including its use in the food industry.

In comparison, other types of glycerin may be derived from animal fats in combination with additives and various synthetic compounds. While both vegetable glycerin and glycerin share similar properties and applications, using vegetable glycerin ensures that it is suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets, appealing to a broader consumer base.

One of the key properties of glycerin is its humectant nature. As a humectant, it exhibits the capacity to attract and retain moisture. This attribute renders it highly suitable as a natural baking preservative since it aids in preserving the moisture and freshness of baked goods for an extended duration.

The moisture-retaining abilities of vegetable glycerin play a vital role in enhancing the quality and shelf life of various food products.

Vegetable glycerin is also considered a great sweetener. It has a sweet taste and is approximately 60% as sweet as traditional sugar. This sweetness makes it a desirable ingredient for those who want to reduce their sugar intake while still enjoying a taste of sweetness in their food and beverages.

How does vegetable glycerin work as a sweetener?

Vegetable glycerin functions as a sweetener due to its chemical composition and properties as a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that closely resembles the taste of sugar and other carbohydrates but have fewer calories.

Often used for baking, glycerol also has a lightly sweet taste and the consistency of a thick syrup, making it just as great for beverages and smoothies.

As mentioned, one of the significant advantages of vegetable glycerin as a sweetener is its impact on blood sugar levels. Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to the increased prevalence of population-level diabetes. Unlike traditional sugars, vegetable glycerin has a low glycemic index (GI).

The low GI of vegetable glycerin means it has a minimal effect on blood glucose, making it a suitable option for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

Other uses of glycerin

Due to its unique properties, glycerin finds applications in a wide range of industries. Here are some of the many uses of glycerin:

Note that glycerin used in different industries may undergo specific purification processes to meet the required quality standards. The grade and purity of glycerin can vary depending on the intended application.

Is vegetable glycerin safe?

Using vegetable glycerin as a sweetener or humectant in small amounts is generally considered safe. However, it is important to ensure that the glycerin used is of high purity for it to be suitable for human consumption.

The purity standards for glycerin as a humectant food additive require that the levels in the finished product do not exceed 0.1%, as set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This ensures that the glycerin is free from potentially harmful contaminants.

Vegetable glycerin is also considered to be eco-friendly and biodegradable. When released into the environment, it has a low potential for bioaccumulation, meaning it does not build up in living organisms over time.

While vegetable glycerin is generally well-tolerated, bear in mind that, like any ingredient, some individuals may have sensitivities or allergies to it. But overall, when used within the recommended limits and sourced from reputable suppliers, vegetable glycerin is considered safe for consumption and environment-friendly.

Musim Mas MASCEROL® High-Quality and Sustainable Glycerin

A natural and sustainable alternative to traditional sugars, vegetable glycerin is a valuable ingredient in low-sugar food and beverages. With its properties as a sweetener and humectant, glycerin helps maintain moisture, improve texture, and extend the shelf life of food products.

Musim Mas, a leading sustainable palm oil player and the first Indonesian RSPO member, offers premium glycerin products. The glycerin we produce is manufactured in a state-of-the-art Dutch production facility using advanced glycerine distillation techniques that meet quality, sustainability, and environmental standards.

Our MASCEROL® glycerine portfolio provides varying concentrations of glycerol and meets stringent quality standards, such as European Pharmacopoeia, American, British, and Japanese requirements.

By incorporating Musim Mas’ glycerin products, food manufacturers can enhance the quality and sustainability of their low-sugar food and beverage offerings, meeting the demands of health-conscious consumers while adhering to strict quality and ethical standards.

While the focus here is on the food industry, it’s worth mentioning that Musim Mas’ glycerin is also utilized in diverse applications beyond food, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, and industrial sectors.

Musim Mas ensures compliance with certifications like Kosher, Halal, Non-GMO, RSPO-MB, and Non-Palm, catering to specific customer needs.