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Where does stand with regard to Palm Oil?

November 23, 2018 Tags: 0 comments
Selfridges recently announced that all their own label food products do not contain palm oil. We never made any announcement but all our products not only do not contain are palm oil free, but always been, since day one, since we started, since 2003, where very few people were talking about palm oil.

All our food suppliers are artisans and choose the best oils for their recipes independently of its price. Palm oil is widely used in the food industry because of its low cost, it is the cheapest vegetable oil of all. Full stop. There is no other rationale behind its use. To keep costs down, industrial producers use palm oil. All our products do not contain any palm oil. When and if the recipe requires oil is mainly olive oil or in some cases, where an oil with very little flavour is required, then sunflower oil is used, but at the time of writing this post, all our products contain olive oil.

In the last few months there has been a lot of talking about Palm Oil, and the subject keeps coming back, more and more big corporations are publishing press releases saying that they have stopped using palm oil, like Selfridges now, but to replace all palm oil will require time and consumers will to absorb some of the cost that the producers will incur. We all know Selfridges and their margins, and it is no surprise that they have replaced palm oil, but about the other supermarket chains? Will ever Aldi or Lidl or Asda be able to replace palm oil on their products? Will their customers understand the price increase? These are the questions we need to ask, there is no point in taking part in demonstrations against Palm oil and then buying products that contain it.

If we want a Palm oil free world and food, we need to be prepared to pay more for our food and ensure that we don’t buy any that has it.
However, something is being done, big corporations are now starting to respond to their customer's demands and are addressing the issue by supporting organisations that manage and certify their Palm oil, Palm Oil is becoming sustainable, companies don’t want to upset and lose their customers. Is that enough to address the problem? Probably no, for each big corporation working with these organisations, there are 10 which are too small to bear the cost of supporting them.

Palm oil is nothing new, a few decades ago, we had similar problems with another everyday product, the paper. Suddenly we all realised that paper was made with cellulose pulp obtained from trees and something needed to be done to preserve the trees and avoid entire forests being destroyed and thanks to the effort of, initially, very few producers, the paper became sustainable, the problem was sorted and we all moved happily on with our lives. Eventually the same will happen with Palm oil.

Still, we could say that we don’t want palm oil to be used because of health reasons and this is our and our suppliers’ choice, and it has been the same since we started, since 2003, and we are proud of it. By working with small producers we have always been environment and taste friendly, cheap products not only can damage the environment but certainly spoil our taste experience.

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