Going palm oil free
Is it possible to completely avoid palm oil?

Case Study: Nutella and peanut butter

This is not a post about my favourite milkshake flavour. Though it could be! More a case study about Nutella, the quite gorgeous chocolatey spread from Ferrero.

So here is a first case study showing the dilemma of palm-oil free shopping.

A good deal?

A good deal?

A few days ago I took this photo – just for fun, showing the rather dubious arithmetic in my local Sainsbury’s to anyone who was mildly interested. But I was taken to task for it, not for making fun of a supermarket (I have no problem with doing that …) but for considering Nutella in the first place.

So what’s the problem? If my memory serves me well, the listing on the jar mentions “vegetable oil” and not specifically palm oil. It *looks* OK …

However all is not as it seems. Check this link from Greenpeace and it seems that Nutella is to be made an example of. A staggering 31% vegetable oil, yes, and all palm oil. This information has not come from product labelling, or from Ferrero itself, but from Greenpeace scientific investigations.


So am I going to need a scientist, or radical activist, to help me with all my investigation? Nutella must be on my banned list, but only because, as a relatively interested environmentalist, I have been made aware of the Greenpeace investigation and the Italian protest. The next thing I find that just says “vegetable oil”, will I be so “lucky”?

So I had a theory. I checked out the Sainsbury’s own brand chocolate and hazelnut spread. Imitation Nutella. At least Sainsbury’s are less obtuse in their labelling. Palm Oil. Sainsbury’s basic version – palm oil. Perhaps this will be the way to determinte palm oil content – if the leading brand won’t own up to it, the supermarket copy may give them away.

To the peanut butter aisle – a staple of my dogs’ diet and a special treat for their owner. Sainsbury’s basic peanut butter – palm oil. Sainsbury’s own brand – palm oil. Sainsbury’s low fat peanut buter … yes, palm oil. A shame for me and my treat for a bagel filling, as another product goes by the wayside. But what of SunPat, the leading brand (owned by Premier Foods). Will that have palm oil, disguised or otherwise as vegetable oil?

Actually, no. Just peanut oil – a byproduct of the peanut butter making process anyway (or so I convinced myself). So the dogs can have a little luxury in their Kongs and I can have a little claggy crunchiness in my bagels after all! Though it has blown a theory out of the water about ingredients of mainline products being the same as their supermarket label copies.

2 Responses to “Case Study: Nutella and peanut butter”

  1. The boycotts already bring huge impact on oil palm industry.. I think in the next few years there will be no more expansion of oil palm plantation..

  2. We, as consumers need to question more and make our concerns known. We need to let the companies know that we are aware of the Palm Oil link to the destruction of Rain Forests and deaths of many Orangutans, and THAT WE WANT THAT TO CHANGE!!
    We can make choices, and pressure companies. We DO have the power, we must. It is important. It not only effects the wildlife and the Carbon Footprint of Global Warming but the livelihood of mankind. Once these forests are gone…that is it! So check the type of hardwood you are buying, question the retailer. Read the back of the box for ingredients, check for alternatives, and call the company when you see that Palm Oil is used, and ask them their stand on being Eco-Friendly and Green. Get them to commit to an answer. One way or another, they will get the message!

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