Do you find grocery shopping is getting harder and harder? Is it fat that’s good for us now, or is that still bad? Does this product contain more sugar than that product? That product is cheaper but I’ve heard that company has a really bad environmental record. Am I buying enough fruit and vegetables? Have I planned too many meat meals? Heaven forbid there is anyone with allergies or health issues!!
I, for one, am often completely overwhelmed when shopping and I tend to stick to the same products we usually buy. Occasionally I will hear of a product that is environmentally friendly or better value and I will change to that one. But doing research into which products contain palm oil and which don’t was enough to completely frazzle my mind! Now to hear that there is such things as good palm oil and bad palm oil… argh! Where do I even start??
Over 50% of supermarket goods for sale contain palm oil; from margarine and chocolate to donuts and cookies, to even household items like lipstick, shampoo and soap. In fact, around 70% of the world’s cosmetics and household detergents contain raw materials derived from palm oil. Globally, 74.01 million tonnes of palm oil was consumed in 2014 and this is expected to reach 128.20 million tons by 2022. Currently just 17% of palm oil is certified as being from sustainable sources.
Thankfully the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has been working to transform the palm oil industry to make sustainable palm oil the norm. In the same way that lots of people now understand and look for ‘free range eggs’, ‘organic produce’ or GMO-free staples, it is now significantly easier to spot the Good Palm Oil from the Bad thanks to the RSPO logo.
And how can we help?
- Look for the RSPO logo when buying products and try to choose products that use sustainable palm oil
- Share this post with friends and family so that they are aware of the benefits of buying products using sustainable palm oil
- Check the products you currently use for bad palm oil and try to find a good palm oil alternative
- Lobby your favourite brands to start using sustainable palm oil sources.
As I’ve discovered from my own research, preventing the downsides of bad palm oil is not a purely simple matter of just stopping all palm oil production, because there are significant environmental impacts in any alternative oil crop as well, and other factors like economics involved. However, the easiest first step in the process of making a BIG difference in regards to palm oil is to make sure that any products you do use show the RSPO certified logo. Knowing that sustainable palm oil is out there and pushing for its use in the products you buy is an easy consumer statement that I can achieve for my family and know I’m doing the right thing at the same time.