Unlike other natural oils, palm oil is stable at room temperature.
Palm oil dissolves uniformly when heated and solidifies as it cools, without separating from the food. This effect binds baked goods so they won?t fall apart and creates a desirably homogenous, creamy texture in peanut butter.
Palm oil increases a food?s shelf life.
Palm oil has a pleasant flavor.
Although palm oil?s stability is due mostly to its relatively rich saturated-fat content ? when compared to many less stable natural liquid cooking oils ? the alternative for a similar effect is "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil," the ubiquitous euphemism for synthetically saturated monounsaturated fat, a.k.a. "trans fat."
If "saturated monounsaturated" looks like an oxymoron, that?s because it is. The presto-chango hydrogenation of oils is alchemic sleight-of-hand, which carries a whole host of known health risks that far outweigh anything associated with natural cooking oils. And the popular supermarket brands of peanut butter and crackers use these synthetic hydrogenated fats.
so in short a little extra saturated fat for stability in packaged foods...