Ditching Unsustainable Palm Oil: Sweet Treats

It’s been a few weeks since Sarah and myself decided to try and only eat sustainable palm oil or indeed none at all. I explain in this post about why we should keep buying palm oil but demand sustainability and transparency.

Over the last few weeks we’ve had some discussion and thought about ingredients that we can switch or omit but we decided to kick off with one of the main sources of palm oil – sweet treats.

This post discusses some of the things we have come across recently, it is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it meant to promote a particular product or brand. Think of it more as ‘tried and tested’ suggestions that we will add to as we continue this challenge. Products mentioned are available in the UK and/or Germany, some worldwide.


Nestle currently uses 58% certified palm oil and is working towards 100% sustainability and a commitment to no deforestation by 2020, their policy on sustainable palm oil can be found here.


I really love butter fingers, and am glad to see a commitment here, compared with other brands 58% isn’t great but it’s good to see transparency and progress in 2018.


Mars is an RSPO member and is committed to 100% sustainable palm oil. They also have various sustainable sourcing plans and some products are Rainforest Alliance certified.


This was one of the things I was really worried about in the lead up to this challenge, I LOVE Nutella! Thankfully Ferrero have a sustainable palm oil policy that can be read here.

Big Supermarkets:

One of the big surprises for me was the big supermarkets, Asda is Rainforest Alliance certified on many of it’s own brand products and also has a great sustainability policy (including for palm oil) that can be found here. Asda are active members of RSPO and 100% of the palm oil used in 2016 was certified sustainable.

On a quick search I can also happily say that after a quick google search some other big supermarkets also have similar policies (if only they could tackle single use plastics now, that would be great!).

98% of palm oil found in Sainsbury’s own brand products is certified sustainable. 99% of palm oil in Tesco’s own brand products were certified sustainable in 2016 and they are committed to no net-deforestation by 2020. Morrison’s use 88% RSPO certified sustainable products in their own brand products.


While I haven’t tried products from the other supermarkets I have tried milk chocolate with Hazelnuts from Asda and it was lovely.


My lovely friend Karen bought me some Thornton’s for my birthday, and even did some research about chocolates to take to the cinema! Thornton’s is an RSPO member and have a set of sustainability policies.


I’m not a lover of Lindt so can’t recommend any products but I can tell you they are committed to using 100% certified sustainable palm oil.


While Cadbury has Fairtrade and sustainability certifications, their stance on palm oil is less clear, I couldn’t find anything on the UK website, but did find a statement in the FAQ section on their New Zealand website: “While we have always been upfront about using a very small amount of palm oil in some of our fillings where there is no substitute, we buy our palm oil from key suppliers who participate in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which develops and enforces standards for sustainable palm oil production.”

Make your own:

Making your own is also a great way, especially if you want to avoid palm oil altogether. One thing we recommend are these brownies (made and so artfully photographed by Sarah on a Norwegian hillside).

Raw brownies contain: raisins, dates, 100% peanut butter, sea salt, raw almonds, cacao nibs, honey, cocoa powder, contact me for the recipe if you’d like it.


Photo courtesy of Sarah Hudson

The “healthy” option:

A palm oil free sweet treat that’s easy and pretty good for you are smoothies, like Sarah’s strawberry and pineapple one as photographed below. Remember to check nut butters and oat products before adding.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Hudson

Further challenges:

The lack of labelling is even more apparent now that we have been paying closer attention, of all of the products I’ve looked at, only one nut butter claimed (in its ingredients list) to contain “sustainable” palm oil. Without further research it’s impossible to tell what is and what isn’t, I think while this is a challenge for those of us trying to avoid unsustainable palm oil there is a real opportunity here.

Let’s also not forget the life cycle associated with other products too, ALL of them take up land and precious resources to produce.

We’ll be back soon with more suggestions and recipes!

4 thoughts on “Ditching Unsustainable Palm Oil: Sweet Treats

  1. Awesome, Christine! Good on you for doing all this research (which helps the rest of us when trying to figure out what all the brands are doing in terms of palm oil, so thanks!). Here in Australia it’s becoming more common to mention sourcing of sustainable palm oil on packaging, which is great, but I think the public is still fairly uneducated on the topic as far as I can tell. Trying to reduce my waste has been really helpful for me in this regard, because if I’m not buying a packaged product and making it from scratch or substituting something else unpackaged in my diet instead, then I have peace of mind as I know exactly what’s in everything I eat. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa! It’s great that labelling is becoming more common there, it’s basically non existent here and unless you care enough to Google you’d never know. Yeah becoming more concious about waste is definitely a driver for more sustainability, I bet it has lots of benefits like sourcing things more locally and supporting small businesses too?

      Liked by 1 person

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