There are two types of edible oil and fat products: liquid oils such as olive oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, or sunflower oil, and plastic fats such as lard, shortening, butter, and margarine. The physical properties of the fatty material are unimportant for some applications, but consistency is important for others.
Animal byproducts from the slaughter of cattle, hogs, and sheep; fatty fish and marine mammals; a few fleshy fruits (palm and olive); and various oilseeds are the raw materials for the Edible Oils and Fats industry. Although the majority of oilseeds are grown specifically for processing into oils and protein meals, several important vegetable oils are obtained from by-product raw materials. Cottonseed is a byproduct of cotton grown for fibre, and corn oil is obtained from corn germ that accumulates in the corn-milling industry, which produces corn grits, starch, and syrup as its primary products.