Lipids, i.e. natural fats and oils as renewable oleochemical raw materials, contribute a particularly broad spectrum of products and properties to surface chemistry. Unsaturated drying and semi-drying oils are film formers. Lauric oils are key to surfactants. Epoxidised oils are phthalate-free plasticisers, heat stabilisers, and building blocks for natural oil-based polymers. Phenolic lipids are, besides lignin, one of the few sources of natural, renewable aromatics. In the course of time, lipid chemistry has undergone fundamental paradigm changes. Oils and fats of animal origin, i.e., butter, lard, and tallow, have been largely surpassed in quantity by vegetable oils, more particularly by palm oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil. At the same time a tremendous geographical shift of oleochemical production has taken place from North America and Europe to southeast Asia.