Friday, 1 May 2009

Palm Oil and DeForestation

I have read an article in the Independant online today which really made me think again about which foods I'm going to buy.

I wholeheartedly support the Orangutan conservation and would love to go out to Indonesia to see the work there.

The article lists some of the everyday foods which use Palm Oil but is listed in the ingredients as Vegetable Oil.

It is the DeForestation of the Rain Forests to enable Palm growing which is killing out the Orangutan and other species and affecting the Eco-systems in South East Asia.

Here is the link to the article

Here is a snippet which lists the main household brands which use this crop:

Household names: Big brands and palm oil

Kellogg's (US) Uses palm oil in 50 products, mostly cereal bars but also cereals such as Special K and Crunchy Nut, where it binds together clusters. Does not buy sustainable palm oil.

Cadbury (UK) Pours palm oil into chocolate bars, including Cadbury Dairy Milk, where it is listed as vegetable oil. Uses 40,000 tonnes a year, none certified as sustainable.

Mars (US/UK) Uses palm oil in Mars Bars, Galaxy and Maltesers, where it is labelled "vegetable fat". Does not buy sustainable palm oil. Says it wants to.

Procter & Gamble (US) Makes Ariel, Daz and Fairy Liquid, where use of palm oil is suspected but unproven. Says it will have a sustainable supply by 2015.

Unilever (UK) World's biggest user of palm oil, which is found in Flora margarine, Pot Noodle, Comfort and Persil. Buys 1.6m tonnes a year – 4.2 per cent of global production. Acknowledging the damage to its reputation and the environment, Unilever set up the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Kraft (US) Says it does not use palm oil in Dairylea cheese but does in other products. Buys half a per cent of global supply. Says it will move to sustainable palm oil by 2015.

Heinz (US) Uses palm oil to fry potatoes for Aunt Bessie's Potatoes, which it makes under licence.

United Biscuits (UK) Uses palm oil across its range including McVitie's Digestives and McCoy's crisps. Says it is reducing quantities.

Nestle (Swiss) Palm oil in KitKat, Quality Street, Aero and other brands.

Premier Food (UK) Uses in Hovis, Mr Kipling Cakes, Bisto Gravy and Cadbury cakes (made under licence). Hopes to move to a certified sustainable supply by 2011.

Pepsico (US) Makes Walker's crisps. Has one of the best corporate policies, only using palm oil in Quaker Oat Granola and Nobby's Nuts. Intends to phase out use on those two products.


  1. I'm glad to say I avoid a lot of those companies for being unethical in other areas, and in fact the only product I use, which you listed is Bisto.

    I think it just goes to show you are safer making it yourself, or buying it from a company who is really trying to be people and planet-friendly

  2. Like Karin I was relieved to discover that I do not 'normally' use any of the products listed. However I do from time to time buy the supermarket equivalent of Crunchy Nut cornflakes and Digestives. I'm guessing they're just as guilty. Mayb I should stick to homemade muesli and dig out that recipe for digestive biscuits.

  3. Missed the digestives. Yes, I buy them occasionally, too. May have to reconsider. Some of the more ethical companies do use alternatives to palm oil in their products. I think it might have been the crisps I buy that said they contained sunflower oil.

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