We’re excited to announce that our chewing gum is now completely palm oil free. It used to contain RSPO certified palm oil in the glycerol but we now have found a way to use just European sourced rapeseed oil instead.
Here's a little background on why we needed palm oil in our chewing gum. Glycerol (also known as glycerine or glycerine) is a clear liquid typically made from from soybean, coconut or palm oils. It’s odourless and has a mild, sweet taste with a syrup-like consistency. Glycerol is a common ingredient that chewing gum brands like Peppersmith use as a stabiliser. It helps oil and water-based ingredients mix and prevents the gum from drying out.
Why does palm oil get such a bad reputation?
You’ve probably heard that palm oil is really bad for the planet. But the problem with palm oil isn’t that it’s inherently dangerous. It’s actually the way it’s grown that’s causing huge environmental problems.
Although it gets a bad rep now, palm oil was actually a better option as it takes less carbon to produce compared to some other vegetable oils. This is why palm oil is such a common ingredient. However, the growing demand for palm oil (WWF reckons it’s in close to 50 percent of all supermarket products) is contributing to vast deforestation of rainforests. To get palm oil, land and forests are first cleared for the development of plantations. In fact, we’re losing 18.7 million acres of forests annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute.
This has a devastating impact and leads to serious issues such as deforestation, animal displacement, and indigenous people being abused. Many species, like the Orangutans and Sumatran tigers, have lost their homes to these forest fires and are now on the edge of extinction.
What about sustainable palm oil?
We previously used Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sustainable palm oil in our vegetable glycerol. A quick background on the RSPO: they’re an organisation that was founded in 2004 to address the environmental and social impacts of unsustainable palm oil. The RSPO ensure that producers should respect and consider local people, guarantee that no 'high conservation value' (HCV) areas are cleared, and minimise environmental impacts of production. They do tremendously good work and fight to make sustainable palm oil the norm.
While the number of companies opting to use sustainable or organic palm oil is increasing, we hope that many products won't have the need for palm oil at all in the years to come.
Lucky for us, our amazing factory have cracked the secret so now, we don't need palm oil in our chewing gum anymore. But the work doesn't end here. Our mints and pastilles still contain a very tiny amount of RSPO certified palm oil. While the RSPO do amazing work, we think no palm oil is still the way to go. We're working hard with our factory to remove it so Peppersmith can be 100% palm oil free.
What can we do?
Apart from chewing gum, there are many other common household products contain palm oil. Here’s a list of Peppersmith HQ’s favourite palm oil free versions of these common products.
Meridian Foods have been flying the palm oil free flag for nearly 30 year with over 20 types of nut butters from cupboard staple peanut butter to more interesting flavours like cashew butter.
The new kid on the block, their peanut butters are made from hi-oleic peanuts sourced from a single family run farm in Argentina and 100% palm oil free. Their Deep Roast Crunchy Peanut Butter is an office favourite.
With their small team of brilliant ice cream makers, Jude’s are creating delicious and innovative ice cream flavoured with the best natural ingredients.
After feedback from their customers, Ben & Jerry's have been working toward the goal of being palm oil free. And in 2017, they were officially palm oil free. Whoop.
The Organic Seed & Bean Company was founded in 2005 with the idea to create an ethical range of confectionery with unique flavours.
Another amazing chocolate brand that's almost as healthy as your morning smoothie. Raw Halo chocolates are made using ethically sourced ingredients including single-origin cacao and coconut sugar.
You can't talk about chocolate without mentioning the elephant in the room... Chocolate spread. Fear not. Mr Organic's range of chocolate spreads contain organic ingredients and without palm oil. Spread onto toast, bake into cupcakes or simply dig in with your spoon (we know we do...).
Delicious and free of added sugar, their oat drinks use rapeseed oil and are a brilliant alternative to dairy and soy.
A Fairtrade cola drink made with natural and organic ingredients, delicious and refreshing without any artificial chemical nasties. The best part is that proceeds from each can go to the cola grower's families.
All of Lucy Bee's bar soaps are traditionally made with 100% coconut oil and are 100% cruelty free
Palm oil is actually very common in makeup as it's cheap, holds colour well and doesn't melt at high temperature. Axiology's lipsticks aren't only palm oil free but also uses ingredients that aren't damaging to the environment. The best part is they donate parts of their profit to the Orangutan Foundation International who help to save orangutans under threat due to palm oil production.
What can I do to help?
- Buy palm oil free products. Here's a guide on how to spot palm oil on labels
- If you can’t find a palm oil free alternative, look out for the RSPO logo
- Support charities like WFF and the Rainforest Foundation, that campaign against unethical palm oil production
- Educate yourself about the palm oil industry and help spread awareness
- Sign petitions to ban the sale of products containing unsustainably sourced palm oil
With more nicknames than David Bowie, it can be difficult to spot palm oil on a label. So many of us are unaware that many of the products we buy actually contain palm oil. Here's a handy list of names the oil and its derivatives are also known as. If you're still unsure, it's just best to ask a company directly.
Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid palm oil or you might purchase something to later find discover it has palm oil in it. Don’t sweat it. It’s not about being perfect but trying your hardest to do what’s right and spread awareness.