This Easter, is the first year that EU food manufacturers will have to label palm oil on their ingredients list. Previously palm oil could be disguised in a number of ways as a seemingly innocent ingredient, like vegetable oil.
While it will be compulsory for brands to label palm oil and derivatives, they won’t be obliged to disclose whether the palm oil has been sourced sustainably or not. This leaves conscious consumers in a hard place, having to actively seek out brands and products that are not causing irreversible damage to the forests that wild tigers call home.
The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), are a not-for-profit body created to make the palm oil sector more accountable, transparent and sustainable. They work with businesses throughout the supply chain, from growers to manufacturers including supermarkets, ensuring that their produce does not negatively impact the environment.
They do have a trademark, or logo if you prefer, that identifies a product as containing only certified sustainable palm oil. At present very few brands in the UK are using this mark, despite using only sustainably sourced palm oil.
Early adopters of this mark include Whole Earth (who make peanut butters) and Jordan’s Cereals, with supermarkets Waitrose and Marks & Spencer’s using the marks on their own brand toiletries.
From a consumer point of view, this makes it all very ambiguous at point of sale. Without research – it’s hard to identify what is or isn’t ethically and sustainably produced.
Now, we could have a moan about all the brands that are failing to change their practices… But we’d rather write about positive stuff. What better way to be positive than to taste test our way through some of the chocolate brands that have been leading the way with their ethical practices, check out our video!
Of course there are other brands and lovely artisan chocolatiers using sustainable products and no palm oil.
Check out your local producer’s provenance – and let us know who your favourite sustainable brands are over on Facebook. We’ll be running a competition in the lead up to Easter, everyone who likes and comments on this post will be in with a chance of a trip for two to London Zoo and some chocolate treats!