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Palm Oil Free List

A list of some UK products which are palm oil free or only use sustainable palm oil, from Ethical Consumer.

Palm oil is said to be found in 50% of supermarket products, from food to cleaners to cosmetics. It is a type of vegetable oil derived from palm oil fruit. This controversial ingredient may be present in some form in nearly every room of your home. It is widely used for its properties and because it is cheap. Its low price is partly due to its high yield, but also because, as with other mass produced crops, the environmental and social costs go unaccounted for.

Its production destroys rainforests and biodiversity. The plight of orangutans has been a key feature of palm oil campaigns, due to 80% of their habitat being destroyed in the last 20 years and the serious risk they face of extinction in our lifetime.

Image: Deforestation palm oil
Deforestation caused by Palm Oil Plantations, credit: Mighty Earth.

Social impacts are also wide ranging, and economic gains are far from evenly distributed. More than 20 million people, comprising hundreds of distinct language groups, depend on Indonesia’s forests. Many traditional communities have lost their lands to plantations.

Demand for palm oil has undergone a phenomenal growth and is expected to more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050. 

Which products contain palm oil?

The following products are just some of the products likely to contain palm oil:

Spotting Palm Oil Derivatives

Much of the palm oil we consume appears in a number of processed forms, ‘derivatives’ of the oil itself.

These 500 or so different substances make up about 60% of global palm oil use. The names obscure the source, so it is hard to tell if you are consuming a product from palm oil or not.

Image: palm oil derivatives
Credit: Selva Beat

But, as palm oil campaign site Selva Beat says: “the ultimate trick to being able to spot palm-oil derivatives in most things lies in recognising the building blocks”.

Memorising the four words below will help you spot over half of the fatty acid compounds that are often made from palm oil. Spotting an ingredient whose name includes one of these root words does not mean it is definitely made from palm, but is a clue which can be followed up by contacting the company.

There is a long list of some of the alternative names for palm oil derivatives on the Orangutan Foundation website. Again this doesn't mean that all these ingredients are definitely palm oil, (for instance E471 may be palm oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil or canola oil), but they could be.

Palm Oil Free List

We've put together a list of companies which receive our best rating for palm oil, either for being a palm oil free company or for using best practices in their sourcing.

For example, a company must have all of the possible palm products used in its global supply chain certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) plus something extra like full disclosure of volumes, suppliers, or traceability to the mill. Or else a high proportion certified and even more other positive initiatives.

The higher proportion of palm sourced from segregated supply chains, the easier it is for a company to achieve our best rating.

Another way companies can demonstrate engagement on this issue is by sourcing palm oil that is certified as organic.

Plus, we list the products from the best-rated companies that are palm oil free.

(Those brands rated best for palm oil are not necessarily rated best for overall corporate responsibility.)

Supermarkets

Best rating for Palm Oil:  

  • Iceland - all own brand food is palm oil free (NB since June 2022 Iceland has begun using certified sustainable palm oil in some of its Iceland branded products due to supply issues with obtaining sunflower oil because of the Russia/Ukraine war. Iceland has said they intend to revert to sunflower oil again as soon as practical to do so.)

See supermarkets guide for companies' overall rating. 

 

Biscuits

The biscuits most likely to be palm oil free are those that are 'all butter' or the more expensive 'cookies'.

Company Palm Oil Free Products
Island Bakery All biscuits and oatcakes except Sweet FA biscuits, buy from Planet Organic* or Abel & Cole*. Oatcakes and Sweet FA range are vegan.
Traidcraft Chocolate Chunk & Sour Cherry Shortbread, Double Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry Shortbread, Half-coated Chocolate Shortbread Finger, Geobakes All Butter Shortbread Biscuits. Buy from the Traidcraft shop*.
Amisa all biscuits - buy from Planet Organic*
Biona all cripsbreads, spelt, corn and rice cakes - buy from Planet Organic*
Lazy Day all biscuits palm oil free and vegan - buy from Ethical Superstore*
Mr Organic all biscuits palm oil free and vegan - buy from Abel & Cole*

Biscuits containing sustainable palm oil

The following companies get our best rating for their palm oil policy and sell biscuits containing RSPO certified sustainable, Fairtrade or organic palm oil:

  • Island Bakery, use sustainable palm oil in Sweet FA biscuits
  • Against the Grain, use organic palm oil. All biscuits vegan and gluten free
  • Doves Farm, use organic palm oil. All biscuits are organic and vegan 
  • Traidcraft, use FairPalm (its own fairly traded palm oil)
  • Biona, all biscuits and cookies contain organic palm oil. All vegan excpet blueberry and rapsberry cookies.
  • Nairn's, all contain palm oil. Everything, except cheese and salted caramel varieties, is vegan.
  • Hill's, all contain palm oil. Some are vegan.

See our biscuits product guide to see how the companies compare on their overall corporate responsibility. 

Bread

The following brands have palm oil free products: 

Company Palm Oil Free Products
Biona All bread, Buy from Planet Organic*
Weight Watchers All bread
Warburtons Danish White, all gluten free bread

The following companies also make bread that contain RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil:

  • Weight Watchers, all RSPO certified
  • Warburtons, all RSPO certified

See our bread product guide to see how the companies compare on their overall corporate responsibility.

Pet Food

The following brands have palm oil free products: 

Palm Oil Free Products

Ami, Beco, Benevo, Yarrah, Burns, Meowing Heads, Harringtons, Wagg, Barking Heads, V-Dog, Applaws, Encore, Lily's Kitchen, Eukanuba, Iams 

Buy Beco and Lily's Kitchen online via Waitrose*

See our dog food guide and cat food guide to see how the companies compare on their overall corporate responsibility.

Nut Butters

The following brands have palm oil free products: 

Company  Palm Oil Free Products
Suma   All palm oil free, all organic, some Fairtrade too
Meridian All palm oil free, some organic, buy from Planet Organic
Biona All palm oil free, all organic, buy from Planet Organic*
Raw Health

All palm oil free, all organic

Essential All palm oil free, all organic. Buy from the Ethical Superstore

All the products of the following company are palm oil free:

  • Meridian, palm oil free company 

Chocolate Spread

The following brands have palm oil free products: 

Company Palm Oil Free Products
Vego   All palm oil free, Fairtrade, organic and dairy free 
Mr Organic   All palm oil free and organic and dairy free 
Biona All palm oil free and organic, buy from Planet Organic* 
   

The following companies also make chocolate spread that contain RSPO certified sustainable, Fairtrade or organic palm oil:

  • Plamil, uses organic & RSPO certified
  • Essential, all RSPO certified
  • Traidcraft, uses Fairpalm (its own fairly traded palm oil)
  • Vivani, all organic & RSPO certified

 

Palm Oil Free Chocolate and Gift Chocolates

All the companies below only make palm oil free chocolate.

All chocolate is palm oil free, organic, vegan and fair trade
Vego - Buy from various shops including Planet Organic* and Ethical Superstore*
Pacari - Go to their online shop
Beyond Good - Buy from their website
Ombar - Buy from various shops including Planet Organic* and Ethical Superstore*
All chocolate is palm oil free, organic and vegan
Booja Booja - Buy from various shops including Planet Organic
Moo Free - see their website
All chocolate is palm oil free, vegan and fair trade
MIA - see their website
All chocolate is palm oil free, organic and fair trade
Cocoa Loco - Go to their online shop or buy from Oxfam*
Fairafric - see their website
Equal Exchange - Buy from various shops including Ethical Superstore*
Traidcraft* - Buy from their website
All chocolate is palm oil free and fair trade
Divine - Buy from Ethical Shop
Tony's Chocolonely - Buy from various shops including Ethical Superstore* and Oxfam*
Willie's Cacao - Buy from their website
Chocolat Madagascar - Buy from their website
All chocolate is palm oil free and organic
Seed & Bean - Buy from their online shop, or high street shops, or from Ethical Superstore* and Oxfam*
All chocolate is palm oil free and vegan
Plamil - Buy from their website
All chocolate is palm oil free
Montezuma - Go to their online shop, buy from high street shops, or online from Ethical Superstore* and Planet Organic*

Read our ethical shopping guide chocolate for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

Butter, Margarine & Spreads

The following brands have palm oil free butter and spreadable butter products: 

Company Palm Oil Free
Yeo Valley All butter and spreadable butter. Buy Yeo Valley from Planet Organic* 
Acorn Dairy All butter
Mouse's Favourite Vegan 'butter'
Tiana vegan cooking 'butter' and spreadable 'butter'

Palm oil free margarines are more difficult to find.

The following company makes spreads that contain RSPO certified sustainable and organic palm oil:

  • Biona, all spreads organic & RSPO certified & vegan

Read our ethical shopping guide to spreads for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Breakfast Cereals

      The following brands have palm oil free products: 

      Company Palm Oil Free Products
      Rude Health  All cereals. Buy from Ethical Superstore*
       MOMA  All cereals
       Infinity Foods  All cereals. Buy from Planet Organic*
      Hodmedod's  All cereals
      Alara All cereals. Buy porridge oats from Planet Organic*
      Essential All cereals
      Doves Farm All Freee gluten free cereals*
      Mornflakes  All oats and mueslis
      Traidcraft GeoMuesli Fruit & Nut
      Amisa All cereals except Spelt Crunchy. Buy from Planet Organic
      Biona Amaranth Pops, Honey Hazel Granola*, Amaranth Wild Berry Museli, Fruit Muesli
      Biofair Quinoa Pops

      All the products of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Rude Health, palm oil free company
      • MOMA, palm oil free company
      • Infinity Foods, palm oil free company
      • Hodmedod's, palm oil free company

      The following companies also make cereal that contain RSPO certified sustainable, Fairtrade or organic palm oil:

      • Traidcraft, all Fairpalm (It's own fairly traded palm oil)
      • Amisa, all organic palm oil
      • Biona, all organic & RSPO certified
      • Biofair, organic palm oil
      • Doves Farm, organic palm oil
      • Mornflake, all RSPO certified

      Read our ethical shopping guide to breakfast cereals for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Shampoo

      All the shampoos of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Caurnie Soap
      • Pure Nuff Stuff
      • Friendly Soap
      • Conscious Skincare

      The following companies may use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil in their shampoo:

      • Bentley Organics
      • Odylique
      • Honesty
      • Little Soap Company
      • PHB Ethical Beauty
      • Badger
      • Suma
      • Weleda
      • Lush
      • A Vogel
      • Beiersdorf (Nivea)

      Read our ethical shopping guide to shampoo for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Soap

      All of the products of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Lucy Bee
      • Caurnie
      • Friendly Soap
      • Pure Nuff Stuff
      • Conscious Skincare

      The following company uses Fairtrade palm oil in their soap:

      • Traidcraft, uses Fairpalm (It's own fairly traded palm oil)

      The following companies may use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil in their soap:

      • Odylique
      • Little Soap Company
      • Suma
      • Weleda
      • Lush
      • Nivea

      Read our ethical shopping guide to soap for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Make Up

      There are no palm oil free companies in this guide.

      The following companies may use RSPO certified or sustainable palm oil in their make-up:

      • PHB Ethical Beauty
      • Lush
      • Odylique

      Read our ethical shopping guide to make up for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Perfume

      The following brands have palm oil free products: 

      Company    Palm Oil Free Products  
      Neal's Yard   All perfumes*
      Dolma All products
      Fairypants All products
      Neom All products. Buy from Planet Organic
      Flaya All products

      All of the products of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Dolma, palm oil free company
      • Fairypants, palm oil free company
      • Neom, palm oil free company
      • Flaya, palm oil free company

      The following company uses sustainable palm oil in their perfume:

      • Lush, sustainable palm oil

      Read our ethical shopping guide to perfume for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Skincare

      All of the products of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Conscious Skincare
      • Caurnie
      • Pure Nuff Stuff
      • Lucy Bee
      • Queenie Organics

      The following companies only use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil:

      • Lush
      • Odylique
      • Little Soap Company
      • Weleda
      • Badger
      • PHB Ethical Beauty
      • A Vogel
      • Nivea

      Read our ethical shopping guide to skincare for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Shaving Gel & Foam

      All of the products of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Friendly Soap
      • Pure Nuff Stuff
      • Conscious Skincare

      The following company uses sustainable palm oil in their shaving gel & foam:

      • Lush

      Shower Gel

      All of the products, not just shower gel, of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Caurnie
      • Pure Nuff Stuff
      • Conscious Skincare

      The following companies may use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil in their shower gel:

      • Odylique
      • Little Soap Company
      • PHB Ethical Beauty
      • Suma
      • Weleda
      • Lush
      • Nivea

      Read our ethical shopping guide to shower gel for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Toothpaste

      All of the products of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Georganics
      • Truthpaste
      • Nothing Wasted

      The following companies only use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil:

      • Lush
      • Weleda
      • A Vogel

      Read our ethical shopping guide to toothpaste for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Deodorant

      In our guide, only Lucy Bee is palm oil free.

      The following companies only use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil:

      • Odylique
      • Lush
      • Weleda
      • Nivea
      • Faith in Nature

      Read our ethical shopping guide to deodorant for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Sunscreen

      All of the products, not just sunscreen, of the following companies are palm oil free:

      • Shade
      • Lucy Bee

      The following companies only use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil:

      • Odylique
      • Badger
      • Weleda
      • Nivea & Eucerin

      Read our ethical shopping guide to sunscreen for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Laundry Detergents 

      Company    Palm Oil Free Products  
      Earth Friendly Products (ECOS brand)   all products*

      All of the products of the following company are palm oil free:

      • Earth Friendly Products, palm oil free company

      The following companies may use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil in their laundry detergents:

      • Sodasan, certified RSPO or organic
      • Suma, all RSPO certified
      • Sonett, all RSPO certified

      Read our ethical shopping guide to laundry detergents for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Dishwasher Detergent

      All of the products of the following company are palm oil free:

      • Bide, palm oil free dishwasher detergents

      The following companies may use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil in their laundry detergents:

      • Bio- D, all RSPO certified
      • SESI dishwasher powder, all RSPO certified
      • Miniml, all RSPO certified
      • Fill Refill, all RSPO certified
      • Smol, all RSPO certified
      • Splosh, all RSPO certified
      • Sodasan, certified RSPO or organic

      Read our ethical shopping guide to dishwasher detergents for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      Washing-up Liquid

      All of the products of the following company are palm oil free:

      • Bide, palm oil free dishwasher detergents
      • Greenscents, palm oil free dishwasher detergents
      • Planet Detox, palm oil free dishwasher detergents

      The following companies may use RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil in their laundry detergents:

      • Bio- D, all RSPO certified
      • SESI, all RSPO certified
      • Faith in Nature, all RSPO certified
      • Miniml, all RSPO certified
      • Fill Refill, all RSPO certified
      • Smol, all RSPO certified
      • Splosh, all RSPO certified
      • Sodasan, all RSPO certified and organic

      Read our ethical shopping guide to dishwasher detergents for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

      How we rate companies for Palm Oil policy

      Companies will receive one of the following ratings in our Palm Oil column on our ethical score table. This lists the requirements for large companies, though we're a bit more lenient with small and medium companies that have demonstrated a strong commitment to sourcing sustainable palm and derivatives.

      Worst rating

      Companies that demonstrate no or minimal commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil receive a worst rating (see middle rating for what is considered adequate commitment).

      Middle rating

      For large companies to score a middle rating, all palm oil and derivatives must be certified as sustainable by the RSPO - but this alone isn’t adequate. They must also do one of the following: list all their mills and producers, ensure that at least 50% of their palm oil comes from Segregated or Identity Preserved mechanisms, or publish an annual grievance list.

      Best rating

      We give companies a best rating if they don't use any palm oil or derivatives. 

      Large companies can also score a best rating if all palm oil and derivatives are certified by the RSPO, with at least 50% coming from segregated or identity preserved mechanisms, they list all their mills and producers, and publish an annual grievance list. And they should ensure none of their producers are on a list of suppliers that lack ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation’ policies.

      Consumer Power 

      As consumers we need to use our power at the check out to continue to drive change in the palm oil industry. Pushing companies to buy certified sustainable palm oil is one clear way of doing this.

      There is a growing recognition that even if all the big western manufacturers stopped using palm oil, the problems of unsustainable production would not go away.

      India and China each consume more palm oil than the EU, and production is projected to increase 50% by 2020. At the same time, Indonesia has just increased subsidies to boost palm oil production for biofuel.

      If countries with more developed consumer campaigns turn away from palm oil altogether, the most damaging forms of production may prevail.

      Buy or Boycott?

      Consumers increasingly want to avoid the ingredient where possible, but it's a tricky task as it's used in so many products - more than 50% of packaged supermarket products from margarine and oven chips to soaps and detergents. 

      We are urging readers to boycott products from companies that aren't using 100% certified palm oil now. Promising to source responsibly in the future is no longer good enough. You may also choose to avoid products containing any palm oil, whether it be certified or not.

      *We have an affiliate deal with this shop. Ethical Consumer makes a small amount of money from your purchase. This goes to fund our research and campaigning. We ethically screen all the sites we link to.

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