Iceland has just announced its commitment to remove palm oil from its own label products, making it the UK’s first supermarket to do so.
UK supermarket Iceland has pledged to remove palm oil from its own brand products by the end of 2018, making them the first UK supermarket to commit to removing palm oil from all own brand food.
The company made the landmark decision following Iceland’s Managing Director, Richard Walker’s, visit to Borneo to see the palm oil devastation first hand.
The company states that the reason behind the decision to ban palm oil is that it is one of the world’s biggest causes of deforestation and poses a significant threat to a number of species already facing extinction.
In Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm oil and wood pulp plantations are the biggest drivers of deforestation, many species are being threatened with extinction, including the orangutan. The orangutan population has more than halved in the last 15 years and is now critically endangered with only 70,000 to 100,000 individuals remaining.
On Iceland’s website, Walker states: “Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil’. We don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘sustainable’ palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy.”
Iceland’s Head Chef Neil Nugent has been working in the Iceland development kitchen to remove and replace palm oil in the supermarkets own brand food lines with oils and fats that do not destroy the rainforest.
They are also working closely with trusted suppliers to ensure that changes to their recipes do not impact the cost (or taste) of their own brand products.
By taking steps to remove palm oil from its products, the supermarket is reducing the demand for palm oil by more than 500 tonnes per year.
No palm oil sticker
The company will be making it clear which products are palm oil free by adding a ‘no palm oil’ sticker to its own packaging so that consumers can easily identify which products are free from palm oil. This move may also encourage shoppers who may not be aware of the devastating effects of palm oil to take a look at whether the products they currently purchase contain this ingredient.
Iceland announced the news on its Facebook page, and have stated that for every share of the video announcing the news they will donate £1 to International Animal Rescue, until a total amount of £20,000 has been raised, to help save Borneo orangutans.
Iceland recently created a realistic plant-based burger called the ‘No Bull’ burger, that appears to ‘bleed’ in a bid to cater for the growing popularity of flexitarianism.
Neil Nugent, Head Chef at Iceland, said: “We pride ourselves on food innovation and always love a challenge in the kitchen. After seeing the popularity of these vegan burgers in America, we were inspired to create the No Bull burger, which is perfect for UK freezers.”