Let's Talk About Palm Oil
As the public perception of palm oil plummets, many ‘all natural’ nut butter brands continue to cram their products with the stuff. This post is about why we don’t like it, why we don’t use it and why we feel very few should.
But not in ManíLife. Why?
3 reasons: your health, your environment and your personal well-being.
Palm oil is used as “filler” or “stabiliser” in a ton of food- especially processed and packaged products like spreads, soups, crisps, and crackers. Why is that a problem? Processed palm oil is super high in saturated fats as well being linked to reproductive and organ toxicity. Large consumption of palm oil can lead to hypertension, heart disease, and can affect organs like the lungs and kidneys. We wouldn’t wish that on anyone!
Environmental Sustainability. Meet Billy.
Billy is an Orangutan. Billy is awesome. Billy may or may not be actually called Billy.
Unfortunately, the popularity of palm oil as a cash crop in Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra means that Billy’s natural habitat is almost completely gone. The mass-farming of palm oil has led to a deforestation frenzy in tropical areas with high biodiversity.
Only 20% of palm oil produced is grown and harvested sustainably. That’s 46 million tonnes palm oil production directly responsible for irreversible deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Orangutans are the most commonly quoted victim of the industry (people do tend to love Orangutans), but they are most definitely not suffering alone. Palm oil farming is devastating the habitats of 100s of thousands if not millions of other species (if you believe in the threat of global warming – which everyone seems to apart from Mr Trump).
This is not right. It is a tragedy. It is indefensible.
Another reason why adding palm oil to our peanut butter doesn’t feel right, is because there are poor farmers and labourers behind the operations who have no choice but to work at the palm oil plantations- often for unfair pay and in poor conditions.
The final blot on palm oil’s terrible reputation is the inexcusably terrible working conditions that so many of the industry’s work force are exposed to. Thousands are forced to work on plantations. The environment is toxic. They’re treatment is almost completely unmonitored. They will earn practically nothing.
With all this in mind, why on earth is the stuff in almost everything? It is cheap.
In fact it is the cheapest vegetable oil on the planet. Governments in developing countries confiscate land from indigenous populations in order for large companies to farm palm oil trees- a short term “boost” to the economy. Other than the forced exile of populations, there are unresolved issues like toxic pesticide exposure, loss of secondary economic sectors, and vulnerability to the price of palm oil.
So why don’t we use it?
In short: palm oil could not be less ManíLife. It’s against the ManíMission: the mission to improve the health and well being of everyone on the planet. Sustainably.
So, to put a spin on a popular phrase:
Are you a Maní or are you an unconscious supporter of an industry desecrating the planet before our eyes?
….We’ll work on that one.