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More Palm Oil Problems

Today's Independent is running a story on the problems with palm oil, notably massive rain forest and Orang Utan habitat destruction.

So here's a list of products that contain palm oil, several of which don't mention it. If you needed a reason not to eat Cadbury's chocolate, apart from other stuff being more chocolatey, here's another.

Although the article lays the blame at consumers, none of these companies is advertising the nutty goodness of palm oil as a selling point. In fact, they try to cover it up in some cases. And try buying a Christmas pudding in any supermarket, all of the own brand ones that we looked at, and that was quite a few, had palm oil last year. And many pastry products have palm oil too.

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.

Only one ray of sunshine really:

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.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
What on earth is the application of palm oil in Ariel and Daz? Industrial chemistry is so weird.
May. 1st, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
Soap is basically a mixture of hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds that cling to the dirt which is loosened by a mixture of chemical and mechanical action. So the oil is the hydrophobic part. This is how it works:

Palm oil is easily separated into solid and oil parts so it's cheaper.

Edited at 2009-05-01 01:38 pm (UTC)
May. 1st, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Interesting post. Though at first I thought why is he going on about Palm Oil? Does he have shares in it? Then I re-read your post...

"And try buying a Christmas pudding in any supermarket, all of the own brand ones that we looked at, and that was quite a few, had palm oil last year."

Xmas puds! That's the reason you interested in Plam oil.
May. 1st, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Deeply annoying on the Quaker granola front, as it's my favourite cereal. And we need to find a different brand of bread. It was hard to find mince pies without palm oil last Christmas too. On the upside, happy to eat Green and Black's chocolate instead of Cadbury's.
May. 1st, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, and re. cola, M&S own brand is much nicer than Coke or Pepsi. I assume that, unlike Coke, they don't use well water to manufacture their product in developing countries, thereby denying local people access to free, clean drinking water. Why does it feel like every trip to the supermarket is a political statement these days?
May. 3rd, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
Strewth! I hadn't thought about cola. It's my favourite beverage for diluting cheap whiskey.
May. 3rd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
M&S's is nicest and about the same price as Pepsi and Coke. I've seen no reports about Pepsi behaving as appallingly as Coke, by the way. Whiskey and cola - nom. Tried it with lemonade the other week and it wasn't the same.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )