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Survey shows biscuit companies responding to palm oil threat

New research from Ethical Consumer and the Rainforest foundation (RFUK) shows that many of the UK's leading biscuit manufacturers are responding positively to the ecological and humanitarian threats posed by the proliferation of palm oil production.

Some of the biggest names in biscuits including M&S, Sainsbury's and United Biscuits (makers of Penguin biscuits) have made major commitments to reduce the amount of palm oil in their biscuits.

 

Results

In our survey, 50 of the UK's biggest biscuit manufacturers were questioned on their use of palm oil and its derivatives.

The top scoring companies include major brands such as the Co-op, M&S, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and United Biscuits.

However, a divide is now emerging on the issue of palm oil between these more progressive companies and those bottom scoring, mostly American-based companies including Asda/Walmart, PepsiCo and Kraft, makers of Ritz and Oreo biscuits.

 

Problems

The survey was carried out in response to the increasing threat that palm oil production is posing to the world’s rainforests, and consequently, to the people that rely on these forests for their livelihoods.

The survey results form the latest part of RFUK’s ‘Appetite for Destruction?’ consumer guide to palm oil content in products, which already includes chocolate and bread products.

Having destroyed vast areas of forest in countries including Indonesia, which is home to orang utans, palm oil companies are now planning to expand into the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Africa, home to lowland gorillas and other threatened primates. Palm oil companies are also partly responsible for the recent devastating forest fires in Sumatra.

Simon Counsell, Executive Director of The Rainforest Foundation UK said:

“UK biscuit manufacturers and retailers are showing that it is possible to outright reduce the use of palm oil, which is going to have to occur globally if large areas of Africa’s rainforests are to be saved from conversion to palm plantations.”

Our own Leonie Nimmo says:“This survey clearly shows that environmental campaigning is having a positive impact on the palm oil policies of many companies which is something we wholeheartedly support. Consumers now have a choice in buying biscuits which are reducing the risks to both people and wildlife.”

“We now call on those bottom scoring companies including Asda and Kraft to follow the lead of United Biscuits and commit to reducing the amount of palm oil in their biscuits.”

 

See our palm oil campaign pages and our unique palm oil free list.



 

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