Deeside based Iceland pledges to be first UK supermarket to cut palm oil from own-brand products
Iceland is to become the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods.
The company said today it will stop using the controversial ingredient in all its own-brand food by the end of the year in bid to combat deforestation.
The frozen food specialist has already removed palm oil from more than half its 130 own label products which previously used the ingredient.
The oil is used in products from soap and chocolate spread to oven chips and crisps, the move by Iceland will help reduce demand for palm oil by more than 500 tonnes a year.
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, and it is in about half of all packaged products sold in the supermarket.
While palm oil is the most efficient source of vegetable oil, its rapid expansion threatens some of the planet’s most important and sensitive habitats.
Palm oil grows in tropical rainforests, and the uncontrolled clearing of these forests for conventional palm oil plantations has led to widespread loss of these irreplaceable and biodiverse rich forests.
Plantations have also been connected to the destruction of habitat of endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos.
BREAKING NEWS: We’re the UK’s first supermarket to commit to removing #palmoil from our own label products by the end of this year! Watch here to find out why…#PalmOilAlarmCall pic.twitter.com/hfGvH2QRDW
— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@IcelandFoods) April 10, 2018
Richard Walker, Iceland’s managing director, said: “We don’t believe there is such a thing as guaranteed ‘sustainable’ palm oil available in the mass market, so we are giving consumers a choice to say no to palm for the first time.”
“Having recently been to Indonesia and seen the environmental devastation caused by expanding palm oil production first hand, I feel passionately about the importance of raising awareness of this issue – and I know many British consumers share my concern and want to have a real choice about what they buy,” he said.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, welcomed Iceland’s pledge and predicted others in the supermarket sector would come under increasing pressure to do similar.
“This decision is a direct response to the palm oil industry’s failure to clean up its act,” said Sauven. “As global temperatures rise from burning forests, and populations of endangered species continue to dwindle, companies using agricultural commodities like palm oil will come under increasing pressure to clean up their supply chains.
Many of the biggest consumer companies in the world have promised to end their role in deforestation by 2020. Time is running out not just for these household brands but for the wildlife, the climate and everyone who depends on healthy forests for their survival.”
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