Iceland made the decision to demonstrate to the food and retail industries that it is possible to reduce the demand for palm oil by seeking alternative ingredient solutions. Growing demand for palm oil for use in food products, cosmetics and biodiesel is devastating tropical rainforests across South East Asia. In Indonesia and Malaysia, where expanding palm oil and wood pulp plantations are the biggest driver of deforestation, many species are being threatened with extinction, including the orangutan, already critically endangered.
Neil Nugent, head chef at Iceland, said: “This year we have worked hard to develop recipes that don’t include palm oil for the Christmas range, collaborating across our product development team and with trusted suppliers to ensure that our food is of the highest quality and delivers the best possible taste. We’re proud to be leading the way and developing our seasonal offering in line with our commitment to give customers the option of Christmas foods without palm oil as an ingredient.”
In addition to those foods redeveloped, Iceland will have launched over 200 new lines without palm oil by the beginning of 2019. Despite palm oil being found in more than half of all supermarket products, Iceland found that 35 percent of consumers were unaware of what palm oil is in a study conducted earlier this year.
Richard Walker, Iceland’s managing director, said: “We always try to give consumers a real choice about what they buy and this was a key driver of our decision, announced in April, to allow Iceland customers to join us in saying ‘no to palm oil’. This is a stance we will maintain until Iceland can guarantee that palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction. I am really proud of the work our food development team has carried out to create our new Christmas range without palm oil – an ideal way to celebrate as we reach the realisation of our commitment by the end of this year.”
Iceland’s Christmas 2018 range includes more than 100 food lines which don’t include palm oil as an ingredient, including:
- Luxury Jumbo Coated Wild Red Shrimp Selection
- Luxury Mince Pies
- Luxury Black Forest Layered Pavlova
- Salted caramel Christmas tree cheesecake
- Winter berry Christmas tree cheesecake
- Mince pie ice cream cones
The shift away from palm oil has been enabled due to a significant investment of £5 million by Iceland, ensuring that consumers can make a choice to support the planet with zero or minimal impact on the cost of the food they buy.