Palm oil-free may be emerging trend

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Palm oil-free may be emerging trend

Related tags Palm oil Agriculture

A shift towards palm oil-free foods and ingredients could be an emerging trend in Europe, according to market analysts.

Tate & Lyle Food Systems announced in June the launch of Hamulsion stabiliser systems using emulsifiers not based on palm oil for dairy cream toppings, creamy soups and sauces. And Sensient Food Colours Europe has just launched a range of colours without palm oil.

Miranda Dickinson of market research firm RTS Resource, told FoodNavigator: “Much has been written in recent months about the need for sustainable palm oil. Sunflower crops are seen as being a viable alternative, as are rape crops and there appears to be a slight shift emerging towards alternative crop solutions (mostly at present concerning sources of non-saturated fats). As pressure grows both within the industry and outside from consumers, I wonder if more ingredient companies will follow suit?"

Companies could be responding to the strong consumer awareness of the ecological impact of standard palm oil cultivation, she added. This had been fuelled by initiatives such as Greenpeace’s notorious campaign against Nestle’s use of palm oil in its KitKat brand. "If food manufacturers are looking to increase reasons for consumers to buy their products, the possibility of adding a 'palm oil free' label might be an added purchase motivator when manufacturers are sourcing ingredients."

She also pointed to the call to cut trans fats and the demand from the industry for products that offered multiple benefits, such as health, ‘all natural’ and environmental claims.

Front of pack claims

David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel Group, said there had been 72 new products in Europe bearing prominent front of pack ‘no palm oil’ claims in 2011, versus 16 in 2010. A total of 66 new products bearing such a claim had been launched in the first half of 2012, although he cautioned: “But bear in mind that 66 introductions in 2012 represents just 0.2% of all NPD (new product development).”

More than half of the launches in 2012 had been in the bakery sector, and France alone accounted for 80% of the activity. Jacquet and San Michel were the most active companies in the country in terms of their use of the claim, he said.

Other active companies included Findus, with products such as its Lasagne Bolognese, and PepsiCo’s snack division, with products such as its Lay’s Saveur Moutarde Pickles crisps.

Not so evident in the US

Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor, said the trend was not so evident in the US.  Trans-fat reduction had been tackled in the region, he told FoodNavigator, but he believed US consumers did not grasp the difference between palm and other fats and oils.

He added: “Sustainability [in terms of food] may be trending with the natural products people, but the US public isn’t even close to understanding what that’s about.”

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Symptomatic of anti-palm oil disinformation campaign

Posted by Palm Oil Truth Foundation,

@Mellow Guy's post is symptomatic of the kind of anti-palm oil disinformation campaigns that we've alluded to in our earlier comment.

Tons of scientific studies have shown that palm oil is, in fact heart friendly as the saturated fatty acids in the sn-1 and -3 position (typically found in palm oil) has very different biological consequences than animal fats such as lard and milk fats as the saturated fats are primarily found in the sn-2 position! (Vide: Donald J. McNamara, PhD: “Palm Oil and Heart Health: A case of Manipulated Perception and Misuse of Science” 240S Vol 29 No. 3(s) Journal of the American College of Nutrition)

Palm oil is also the richest source of the heart friendly anti-oxidant tocotrienol, a superior form of Vitamin E as well as other heart friendly phyto-nutrients such as Co Enzyme Q10, betacarotenes and other polyphenols.

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Tropical oils aren't heart healthy

Posted by Mellow Guy,

Palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil have high levels of saturated fat which lead to atherosclerosis and type II diabetes.

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No wonder Europe is in trouble: EU focuses on covert activities instead of economic priorities

Posted by Palm Oil Truth Foundation,

A well written article but I would be wary of this prediction of anything that smacks of an end game of a carefully orchestrated campaign against palm oil.

Palm oil has been buffeted for years by the ill winds of green NGOs with the support of major news media organizations despite the solid science showing that palm oil is healthy and sustainable. It is certainly intriguing why the environmental movement should get their knickers in a twist over palm oil despite the solid environmental record of the crop?

Now an Italian think tank, Libertiamo thinks they have uncovered the real reason for this baffling activism against what is probably the most sustainable of all oilseed crops, and the reason is raising a stink all around!

What is now clear about the green NGOs anti-palm oil campaigns is that they are just part of an elaborate fund raising scheme proposed by them, which has won the support of EU governments keen to support their indigenous uncompetitive commodities. They get generous grants from such governments. They also solicit money from the gullible public by harping of orangutan or deforestation issues that are based, at best on flimsy manufactured evidence, says Libertiamo.

To put it bluntly, these EU governments did not so much as flirt with these questionable schemes of these green NGOs but have grasped their funding proposals with a full embrace as it helps erect artificial trade barriers against palm oil conveniently packaged as altruistic environmental campaigns!

In a paper entitled Taxpayer Funding, NGO Collusion and Manufactured Crises: A Case Study of Malaysia and Palm Oil, Libertiamo points out that since 2005, the European Commission has provided nearly 5million (MYR 19,7 million) to the World Wildlife Fund and 4 million (MYR 15,8 million) to Friends of the Earth. Climate Action Network (CAN) also received nearly 1 million (MYR 3.9 million) in the past two years alone.

Says Libertiamo: European governments are spending significant sums ostensibly to engage in environmental advocacy in the developing world. It also noted that the degree of conservation in many of these countries regularly exceeds those efforts in Europe, as well as other developed countries!

These EU funded NGOs portray Malaysia and Indonesia and other developing countries as purveyors of environmental destruction, distorting facts and figures to suit themselves and the promotion of these myths serves the interests of those organizations who hold their fundraising cup out to governments and the public, with ever more alarming claims fuelling their fundraising!

Libertiamo concludes that NGOs have become "peddlers of half truths to drive donations and attract government largesse. And donor governments support them, in the interest of uncompetitive domestic industries and neo colonial ambitions. They should both be held to account!"

Libertiamo notes that the criticisms against the industry are regularly based on claims MANUFACTURED BY NGOs that are not backed up by hard evidence!

Noting the predilection of these NGOs to make spectacular claims, Libertiamo observed that one of the most commonly used is a statistic that in SE Asia alone, the equivalent of 300 football fields are deforested every hour for palm oil plantations, a claim that has been exposed as a significant distortion of facts by the FAO?s recent "State of the Forests 2011" report which observes that whilst rates of deforestation between 1990-2000 were high at a time of significant development in SE Asia, the trend had reversed dramatically between 2000-2010. Deforestation rates during this latter period "more than halved, making the NGO claims of rampant expansion entirely false!"

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