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
  • Marks and Spencer, all palm oil used is RSPO certified

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, buy from Planet Organic*
Traidcraft Chocolate Chunk & Sour Cherry Shortbread, Double Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry Shortbread, Half-coated Chocolate Shortbread Finger, Geobakes All Butter Shortbread Biscuits
Bahlsen Choco Leibniz Milk, Dark and Orange Chocolate; Leibniz Butter; Zoo Original; Choco Moments Crunchy Hazlenut, Buy online from Waitrose*
Walkers All plain shortbread. Plus All Butter Sultana, Gingerbread Man Tin, Gingerbread House Tin, Mini Belgian Choc Chip, Oat Shortbread
Mrs Crimbles Classic Madeleines, Chocolate Madeleines, Jam Coconut Rings, Coconut Macaroons
Paterson's All shortbread and oatcakes.
Waitrose

All Waitrose No.1 biscuits. All Waitrose Duchy Organic biscuits. All 'all butter' shortbread.

Plus: Christmas Gingerbread Star Tree, Christmas Jammy Shortbread, Lebkuchen, Dark chocolate all butter biscuits, Milk chocolate all butter biscuits, Viennese vanilla swirls, All Butter almond Viennese swirls, All butter vanilla Viennese swirls, All butter Chocolate Viennese sandwich fingers, Vanilla Viennese sandwich fingers, Chocolate Chip shortbread, Stem Ginger Shortbread, Belgian Double Chocolate Cookies, Mini oat biscuits. Buy online from Waitrose*

M&S  All varieties of ‘All Butter Cookies’. All shortbread.

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:

  • Against the Grain, use organic palm oil. All biscuits vegan and gluten free
  • Doves Farm, use organic palm oil. All biscuits in organic and vegan
  • Waitrose, RSPO certified  
  • Traidcraft, use FairPalm (its own fairly traded palm oil)
  • Bahlsen, RSPO certified
  • Walkers, RSPO certified
  • M&S, RSPO certified
  • Waitrose, RSPO certified
  • Mrs Crimble's, RSPO certified
  • Fox's, RSPO certified
  • Burton's Biscuits (Jammie Dodgers, Lyons, Maryland, The Edinburgh Bakery, Viscount, Wagon Wheels), RSPO certified

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
Waitrose All Waitrose 1 bread, Essential Wholemeal medium sliced, Duchy Organic Wholemeal Batch and Wholemeal seeded bloomer, Wholemeal Farmhouse medium, Wholemeal & Rye Cob, Malted Grain Cob, Sunflower & Pumpkin Cob, Ancient Grains & Oat Cob, Light Rye Boule, White Boule, Seeded Spelt Wheat, Ancient Grains Loaf, Stonebaked Grand Mange, Duchy Organic seeded brown bloomer, Duchy Organic Wholemeal bloomer

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

  • M&S, all RSPO certified
  • Waitrose, all RSPO certified
  • Jackson's, all RSPO certified
  • 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*

The following company uses RSPO certified sustainable palm oil in their pet food:

  • Waitrose, all RSPO certified

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
Whole Earth

 100% Peanuts 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 

The following companies also make nut butters that contain RSPO certified sustainable palm oil:

  • Whole Earth, all RSPO certified
  • Waitrose, all RSPO certified
  • M&S, all RSPO certified

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* 
Waitrose 1 Dark Chocolate Spread, buy from Waitrose* 

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
  • Nutella, all RSPO certified
  • Waitrose, all RSPO certified
  • M&S, all RSPO certified

 

Chocolate and gift chocolates

Company Palm Oil Free Products
Divine all chocolate (all Fairtrade too). Buy from Ethical Shop
Booja Booja all chocolate (all organic and vegan too) Buy from Waitrose*
Cocoa Loco all chocolate (all Fairtrade & organic too) Go to their online shop
Vego all chocolate. All vegan, organic and Fairtrade too. Buy from Planet Organic*
Montezuma all chocolate Go to their online shop
Seed & Bean all chocolate (all organic too)  Buy from their online shop

Chocolat Madagascar 

all chocolate (all fair trade)

Pacari

all chocolate (all vegan and organic too). Buy from their website

Madecasse

all chocolate (all vegan too), Buy from their website

Moo Free

all chocolate (all vegan and organic too). 

The Raw Chocolate Company

all chocolate (all vegan too). Buy from Planet Organic*

Plamil

all chocolate (all vegan too). Buy from their website
Vivani most chocolate is palm oil free except Espresso Biscotti, Kids’ Choc Creamy Milk and Milky Creme bars. Buy from Planet Organic*
Biona chocolate covered raisins, hazlenuts, brazils, banana chips and almonds. Buy from Planet Organic*
Waitrose

All Fairtrade chocolate bars (except Dark chocolate with peppermint filling)

Christmas Praline Covered Hazelnuts, Christmas Dark & Gold Brazils, Christmas Tipple Truffle Trio, Christmas Gianduiotti, Festive Trio of Chocolate Avocados, Christmas Dark Chocolate Orangettes, Christmas Dark Chocolate Mint Neapolitans, Christmas Orange Chocolate Neapolitans, Christmas Minty Chocolate Igloos, Christmas Dark Chocolate Rose Turkish Delight,

No.1 Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Pyramids, Chocolate Chest of Drawers, Rose & Violet Creams, Fruit & Floral Creams, Dessert Collection, Sweet Treats, Swiss Neapolitans Chocolate, Chocolate coated raisins, chocolate coated peanuts, Dark chocolate ginger, Dark chocolate brazils, Salted Caramel Chocolate Buttons, Milk Chocolate Covered Honeycomb, Heston from Waitrose Chocolate Mixology Collection, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mallows, Mint Creams, Mint Thins, After Dinner Collection, Italian Gianduiotti Box

Zesty Orange Chocolate Round, Minty Muddle Chocolate Round, Caramel Crunch Chocolate Round, Totally Chocolatey Chocolate Round

Buy from the Waitrose website*. 

Chocolate containing sustainable palm oil

The following companies get our best rating for their palm oil policy and sell some chocolate that contains RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil:

  • Biona, organic certified palm oil
  • Vivani, organic palm oil in Espresso Biscotti, Kids’ Choc Creamy Milk and Milky Creme bars
  • Waitrose, RSPO certified
  • M&S, RSPO certified

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 Butters
Yeo Valley All butter and spreadable butter. Buy Yeo Valley from Planet Organic* 
M&S    All butters and Slightly Salted spreadable butter 
Waitrose   All butter including Duchy Organic. Buy from Waitrose

Palm oil free margarines are more difficult to find. There were none in our 2018 shopping guide. Naturli margarine is palm oil free, however, we are yet to screen this brand regarding its ethics. Those avoiding dairy should choose a product from one of the five companies below getting our best rating for palm oil.

The following companies make spreadable butter and margarine that contain RSPO certified sustainable or organic palm oil and therefore get our best rating for palm oil:

  • Suma, all RSPO certified
  • Biona, all organic & RSPO certified
  • Yeo Valley, all RSPO certified
  • Waitrose, all RSPO certified
  • M&S, all RSPO certified

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*
Kallo  All cereals
Whole Earth  Cornflakes, Maple Frosted Flakes, Muesli. Buy from Ethical Superstore*
Mornflakes  All oats and mueslis
Suma De Luxe, Fruit Burst, Multigrain gluten free, Nutty Crunch, Simple Base and Swiss Twist mueslis; Berry Burst, Cacoa Crumble, Nutty Crumble granolas. Buy from Ethical Superstore
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
  • Kallo, all RSPO certified
  • Whole Earth, all RSPO certified
  • Mornflake, all RSPO certified
  • Suma, 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

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

  • Lush
  • Odylique
  • Little Soap Company
  • Weleda
  • Badger
  • PHB Ethical Beauty
  • Cut.le.crap
  • 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

Read our ethical shopping guide to shaving gel & foam for companies' overall rating for corporate responsibility.

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
  • cut.le.crap
  • 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

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

No palm oil free companies in this guide.

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

  • Odylique
  • Lush
  • Weleda
  • Nivea

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

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.

How we rate companies for Palm Oil policy

Companies will receive one of the following ratings in our Palm Oil column on our scorecards:

Worst rating

Companies using no or minimal certified palm products, and with no or minimal positive commitments score a worst rating.

Middle rating

The minimum that needs to be achieved for a middle rating is a fully certified supply chain, or a partially certified supply chain with other positive commitments met, such as disclosure of suppliers.

Best rating

  • Companies able to demonstrate a fully certified supply chain for all palm ingredients used by the whole company group, and who also declare suppliers and volumes will receive a best rating.
  • Companies that are palm oil free - using neither palm oil (CPO), palm kernel oil (PKO) nor palm derivatives - will also receive a best rating.

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% responsibly sourced 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 sustainably sourced or not.

Listen our podcast episode on Palm Oil where we answer your consumer questions:

*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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