Hey Woolies, enough with the palm oil!

As a chef, I know that the act of choosing ingredients is a very deliberate thing. I suppose this is why it amazes me that leading Australian companies are still managing to make some pretty rubbish choices.

With all the public concern that KFC endured over their use of palm oil, and there eventual switch to canola oil you would think companies would learn, that we as the consumer demand for better.

Somehow Woolworth’s missed the memo and are still using palm oil in their hot cross buns and other products.

All across social media last year Woolworth’s were blasted for there use of palm oil but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference. This year is the same, why stick to something that you know we don’t like?

Woolworth’s have switched to a “sustainable palm oil” in their hot cross buns and will use only sustainable palm oil in Woolworths branded products by 2015. This is a step in the right direction, but it’s just that a step. We are passed the point where a step is enough. There is debate over how sustainable these plantations are, as they are planted on formerly logged palm forests. There are many who would argue that this is still not good enough, and that we should be replacing these deforested areas not using them.

On the positive side at least this does reduce the destruction of the Orangutans habitat, but really shouldn’t we be fixing the problem we have created.

I do commend Woolworths for labelling their use of palm oil as an ingredient in their products, which still isn’t mandatory in Australia. By doing so at least, we the consumer can make an informed decision.

I have singled out Woolworths here, and I know most companies are doing the same. I have called out Woolworths because of all the companies using palm oil I believe they are ready to hear the call. What I say to Woolworths is this, be the first major supermarket to remove any form of palm oil from your shelves. Make a stand, and make up for all the destruction and death that has been caused in the past through the use of palm oil. Don’t just do better, be different, be innovative, and make real a difference.


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