Tallow

What is Tallow?

Tallow is a solid, fatty material made from rendered (melted down) cow or mutton fat. Triglycerides, which are fatty acids coupled with glycerol, make up the majority of its structure.

Traditional applications for tallow include cooking, producing candles, and creating soap. Due to its high melting point, it is perfect for use in baking and frying at high temperatures. Tallow has moisturizing qualities and aids in the production of a rich, creamy lather, making it a popular component in numerous soaps and skincare products.

Concerns over animal welfare and environmental sustainability have made tallow a contentious ingredient in some circles in recent years. Tallow-based products are avoided by some people for moral or health grounds, while others continue to use them because of their historical qualities and advantages.

Tallow Production in the World

The United States of America is the top country producing Tallow in the world. As of 2022, the United States of America produced 3,869,051 tonnes of Tallow, accounting for 48.59% of the total production. Brazil is the world's second-largest Tallow producer, with 1,068,300 tonnes, which represents 13.42% of the total production. Australia(495,800) is the 3rd country, Canada(324,500) is the 4th country, and France(233,700) is the 5th country in the world producing Tallow. Vanuatu has the lowest production of Tallow in the world with only 68 tonnes in 2022. The world's total production of tallow was estimated at 7,962,496 tonnes in 2022.

Source: FAOSTAT

Top 10 Countries by Tallow Production in 2020

Top Countries by Production of Tallow in 2022

Rank Country production(Tonnes)
1
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United States of America
3,869,051
2
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Brazil
1,068,300
3
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Australia
495,800
4
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Canada
324,500
5
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France
233,700
6
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Argentina
223,700
7
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New Zealand
184,400
8
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United Kingdom
183,400
9
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Mexico
170,400
10
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Spain
149,000
11
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China
133,899
12
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Netherlands
107,600
13
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Paraguay
78,800
14
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Uruguay
76,700
15
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Ireland
74,400
16
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South Africa
66,500
17
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Germany
66,297
18
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India
57,458
19
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Belgium
39,600
20
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Iran (Islamic Republic of)
33,315
21
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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
32,014
22
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Ukraine
25,000
23
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Russian Federation
22,351
24
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Poland
21,624
25
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Romania
20,800
26
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Serbia
20,657
27
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Austria
18,612
28
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Italy
15,648
29
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Finland
13,500
30
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Greece
12,700
31
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Switzerland
12,600
32
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Colombia
12,145
33
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Norway
9,800
34
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Czechia
8,400
35
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Belarus
7,040
36
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Peru
6,871
37
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Chile
6,110
38
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Cyprus
4,779
39
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Costa Rica
4,686
40
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Kenya
4,658
41
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Mongolia
4,245
42
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Croatia
3,900
43
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Honduras
3,875
44
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Slovenia
3,835
45
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Lithuania
3,800
46
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Botswana
2,907
47
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Slovakia
2,600
48
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Namibia
2,491
49
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Denmark
1,894
50
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
1,800
51
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Vietnam
1,572
52
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Latvia
1,500
53
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Hungary
1,458
54
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Portugal
1,376
55
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Cambodia
1,242
56
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Sweden
1,203
57
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Republic of Moldova
1,200
58
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Estonia
1,100
59
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Bulgaria
1,056
60
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North Macedonia
500
61
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El Salvador
478
62
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Luxembourg
458
63
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Malta
423
64
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Iceland
316
65
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Hong Kong
218
66
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Madagascar
87
67
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Malaysia
79
68
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Vanuatu
68

Process of Making Tallow

The process of creating tallow involves extracting animal fat to acquire a solid, semi-solid, or liquid state. Here is a general outline of the traditional procedure:

  1. Preparation: Begin by acquiring raw animal fat, usually sourced from beef or mutton. Remove any excess meat or connective tissue from the fat. It is vital to use clean and fresh fat to obtain the highest quality tallow.
  2. Cutting and Grinding: Either cut the fat into small pieces or grind it to increase its surface area. This step enhances the efficiency of fat extraction.
  3. Heating: Place the cut or ground fat into a large, sturdy pot or a rendering vessel. Apply gentle heat to gradually melt the fat. Using low heat is crucial to prevent scorching or burning.
  4. Rendering: As the fat melts, the solid fat separates from the liquid fat and other impurities. The solid fat, known as "cracklings," rises to the surface, while the liquid fat, known as tallow, settles at the bottom.
  5. Straining: Using a slotted spoon or a fine mesh strainer, carefully remove the cracklings from the top. These cracklings can be used for cooking or discarded. Strain the remaining liquid fat through a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer to eliminate any remaining impurities.
  6. Cooling and Solidification: Allow the strained liquid fat to cool at room temperature or in a refrigerator. During the cooling process, the tallow solidifies, transforming into a creamy white or pale yellow substance.
  7. Storage: Once the tallow has solidified, transfer it into clean, airtight containers or jars. Store it in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.

It is important to note that the rendering process can vary depending on personal preferences and the equipment used. Some individuals may choose to utilize slow cookers or ovens for fat extraction. Furthermore, variations in temperature, duration, and other factors can influence the final texture and quality of the tallow.

Remember to exercise caution when working with hot fats and ensure proper ventilation in the cooking area.

Nutritional Information of Tallow

The majority of tallow is made up of fat, and it doesn't have many other nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. It does, however, contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and is a significant source of energy.

When taken in excess, saturated fatty acids have been linked to an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. They are normally solid at room temperature. However, recent evidence indicates that some saturated fatty acids, such as those in tallow, might not be as harmful to health as others.

On the other hand, unsaturated fatty acids are usually liquid at room temperature and have been linked to several health advantages, such as a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and increased cognitive performance.

Tallow does contain trace levels of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin K, while not being a significant source of other nutrients. When compared to other dietary sources, the amount of these vitamins in tallow is, however, somewhat small.

Tallow is a food that contains a lot of calories and is mainly made up of fat. Even while it does have some healthy fatty acids, it should nevertheless be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Types of Tallow

Tallow can come from numerous sources, which can change its composition and qualities. Here are some of the types of tallow:

  1. Beef tallow: The most popular kind of tallow is made from rendered beef cattle fat, and it is called beef tallow. It has a high melting point, is typically white or yellowish, and is perfect for use in cooking and soap-making.
  2. Mutton tallow: Compared to beef tallow, mutton tallow is typically softer and more yellow because it is made from rendered sheep fat. It has a slightly different flavor and odor than beef tallow and is widely used in traditional British cooking.
  3. Deer tallow: Made from the rendered fat of deer, this type of tallow is usually softer and more fragrant than beef tallow. In addition to being utilized in the creation of several cosmetic and skincare products, it is frequently employed in traditional Native American cookery.
  4. Buffalo tallow: Traditional Native American cuisine frequently uses buffalo tallow, which is made from the rendered fat of the buffalo. Compared to beef tallow, it is typically softer and more yellow.
  5. Pig tallow: Made from the rendered fat of pigs, this sort of tallow is frequently utilized in the creation of various meals and cosmetics. It is often softer at room temperature and has a little different flavor and smell from beef tallow.

It's important to remember that not all tallow varieties are appropriate for all purposes. For instance, some tallow varieties may have a greater flavor or aroma than others, which may have an impact on how they are used in particular goods. Additionally, depending on the source and manufacturing processes, some varieties of tallow may be more ethical or sustainable than others.

Uses of Tallow

Traditional and contemporary uses for tallow are numerous. Here are a few of the most typical applications for tallow:

  1. Cooking: Due to its high smoke point and durability, tallow, a classic cooking fat, is frequently employed in high-temperature cooking and frying.
  2. Soap-making: Tallow is a typical component of many traditional soap formulations. It aids in producing a hard, durable bar of soap that generates a rich, creamy lather.
  3. Candle-making: Traditional candle-makers continue to produce tallow candles, which have been used for centuries. Tallow candles are frequently used in religious events because of their warm, natural glow.
  4. Skincare: Tallow has been used for generations as a natural moisturizer to hydrate and safeguard the skin. Natural skincare items like balms, lotions, and salves frequently contain them.
  5. Animal feed: Tallow can be used in animal feed as a source of nutrients and energy. In feed compositions, it is frequently used as a substitute for other fats or oils.
  6. Industrial uses: Tallow is utilized in a wide range of industrial applications, including lubricants, biofuels, and the manufacture of plastics.

Although tallow has long been a common ingredient in many goods, some consumers avoid it out of concern for the welfare of animals, the environment, or their preferences.