Palm Oil: The Silent Invasion

Here at Mr Popple’s, our Peruvian chocolate bas are completely palm oil free. We believe that chocolate should NEVER be padded out with pesky additives. However, the devastation caused by palm oil production is the real reason why it could never be a part of our chocolate making process!

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a vegetable oil that comes from the red pulp of fruit that is produced by oil palm trees. Palm oil is a really adaptable oil that has numerous properties. This is why it is so useful and used by people and companies all over the world. It’s used in food manufacturing, in beauty products, and as biofuel.

38% of the world’s vegetable oil production is taken up by palm oil. 62 million tonnes of palm oil is produced every year!

The Bad Bits…

Palm oil is a major cause of deforestation. Thousands of hectares of precious forest is burned over a few months a year to allow the room to grow these plantations, destroying many animal’s habitats. Many of which are endangered.  Species that are under threat, such as the Orangutan and Sumatran rhino face extinction every day as a result of new palm oil plantations.

The soils in the areas where palm oil is grown is rich in carbon. This means that tonnes of greenhouse gases are thrown into the atmosphere every day, every little bit contributing to climate change. 

As well as being a threat to nature, palm oil also threatens many people’s lives. Workers and sometimes even children are regularly exploited as a way of ensuring that labour needs are met!

Greenpeace even reported that there were instances of violence and local communities being removed, so that palm oil companies could build more plantations. 

In Indonesia and Malaysia together, approximately 4.5 million people earn a living from palm oil.In 2019 it was reported that over 25% of Indonesia’s rainforests have been deforested and replaced with vast palm oil plantations. (Ecosia)

Further research from Rainforest Rescue shows that the equivalent of 300 football fields are being destroyed every hour.

The UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) named palm oil production as ‘the primary cause of permanent rainforest loss’, highlighting the severity of palm oil’s negative impact on the environment.

Palm Oil Affects Us All:

WWF reported that just one ‘palm oil mill generates 2.5 metric tons of effluent for every metric ton of palm oil produced’. Effluent is waste and/or sewage that leaves an area and is destined for freshwater or large bodies of water. This waste ends up polluting these spaces.  Though it isn’t just the environmental aspect of these actions that is worrying. Many communities and farms rely on the water downstream, meaning that the polluted water affects many people’s health and wellbeing, as well as their livelihoods.                     

A recent study completed by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, found a link between palmitic acid (an acid found in palm oil) and the spread of mouth and skin cancers. Highlighting how important it is to pay attention to what you include in your diet and skin regimen.

It’s in what?!

Palm oil is in nearly everything – it’s in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets, everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick.

Labels of products containing palm oil can often mislead customers, with the oil sometimes disguised under another name on the ingredient list. E.g. Vegetable Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Stearic Acid and Palmitic Acid etc.

Palm oil truly has invaded our lives without us even knowing. It is a staple in much of our food and lifestyle products we use on the daily. But, there is a way to limit our consumption and reliance on palm oil based products.

Chocolate & Palm Oil

At Mr Popple’s, we are already strong believers in the idea that chocolate CAN be guilt-free. In this instance, our chocolate is not only a healthier alternative, but you can rest assured knowing that every chocolate bar we produce is a warrior for good!

Our chocolate is palm oil free, ethical, organic and ALWAYS fairly traded. 

One of the main reasons why palm oil is included in other brands’ chocolate is for it’s anti-melting properties. The oil helps to stabilise the chocolate whilst also giving it a smooth texture. However, these properties can be achieved by using different and more ethical ingredients. And this is the approach that we prefer to take! Palm oil is known to have a high saturated fat content. This can negatively affect our heart’s health. We think it’s important to keep your ticker as healthy as can be, this is why you won’t find any palm oil in Mr Popple’s Chocolate.

I want to help…but how?

Unsustainably produced palm oil causes irreparable damage to the rainforests where it is cultivated. Not to mention the habitats of many of the wonderful animal’s habitats.Palm oil can actually be produced more sustainably, many companies just choose the cheaper option and turn a blind eye.  The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO was formed in 2004. This was in response to rising concerns about how palm oil was negatively affecting the environment and society. 

However, it is important to point out that not ALL of the palm oil used by the RSPO is sustainably sourced…

If the products you’re picking up contain a high proportion of saturated fat, and the label lists “vegetable oil” or “vegetable fat it’s a big indicator of palm oil.

Some companies list the fact they don’t use palm oil, and will take pride in putting “palm oil free” on their labels, or may even put “sustainable palm oil” as well.

By not buying into the industry, there will be less demand, and less reason for these companies to grow even more palm oil plantations, and in our opinion, the less is better….

Our ethically sourced chocolate ensures that you are investing in something good. All of our practices are sustainable, with our cacao also being fairly traded. All of our products are completely palm oil free and vegan, helping to combat the devastation of palm oil one little bar at a time!

Check out our range of palm oil free ethical chocolate bars at mrpoppleschocolate.co.uk