5 Reasons to Avoid Palm Oil in the Supermarket

5 Reasons to Avoid Palm Oil in the Supermarket

It’s no secret we’re big advocates of the #PALMOILFREE movement here at Aware Environmental HQ. Our entire range is now and forever will be free from palm oil or palm oil derived ingredients. In fact, we became one of the first manufacturers in Australia to completely remove palm oil from our products. You can find out exactly why we choose to be palm oil free here. Put simply, we don’t take this decision lightly.

So why exactly do we feel so strongly about avoiding palm oil in our products, and why we encourage you to avoid it in your everyday purchases? Here’s 5 reasons to you can factor in the next time you’re faced with a choice at the supermarket.


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1. Palm oil is heavily linked to deforestation

The industry has played a large role in human induced climate change. Palm oil plantations have cleared some of the world’s precious, carbon capturing forests. It’s been stated that every hour, an area the size of 300 football fields is cleared in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for palm oil plantations! This is a jaw dropping image to picture.

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2. Palm oil is forcing orangutans to extinction

Leveling forests doesn’t just affect the climate. It creates an imminent threat to endangered species that live within these tropical areas. The orangutan population of Sumatra and Borneo has sharply declined by over 20,000 in the past 10 years. Scientists predict the orangutan population could become extinct within our lifetime if the destruction of their homes continue, losing over 80% of their natural habitat in the last 20 years.

This is why we support amazing organisations like The Orangutan Project in their difficult mission to protect, rescue and rehabilitate orangutans that have had their homes destroyed.


3. Palm oil is driving other endangered animals toward extinction

Many animals are at risk; there are only approximately 400 tigers left in Sumatra, and Sumatran rhinos are also dwindling in numbers of less than 200. It is estimated that only 2500 elephants remain in Sumatra.

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4. Palm oil is rife with human rights exploitations

Thousands of child labourers work in the palm oil industry, with many workers pulled into the workforce through debt bondage or human trafficking. Some unacceptable working conditions workers face include performing hard physical labour without adequate protection, exposure to dangerous chemicals, unlawfully long hours and below minimum wage payment.

By now, we’re all well aware that palm oil is bad news. Not only does is it incredibly unsustainable for the future, it’s been linked to major human rights violations and the widespread destruction of rainforests — forcing many animal species like orang-utans to the brink of extinction. You can read more about that here.  However, what many people don’t realise is just because they’re not cooking with palm oil, doesn’t mean they’re not using it every single day. Under the current legislation, palm oil doesn’t have to be declared on food labels. It can simply be referred to as ‘vegetable oil. — although manufacturers do have to declare the amount of saturated fat in the product if they use palm oil. This helps to identify the palm oil in food, but not so much in the many other types of products that contain palm oil.  So, to help you make more sustainable shopping choices, here are 10 surprising places palm oil may be lurking in your home.

5. Palm oil is not good for your health

High in saturated fats, a study found that consuming foods rich in palm oil increased cholesterol levels – not dissimilar to what happens when you consume trans fats. What’s more alarming is that palm oil is in so many supermarket items. Here’s 10 surprising products that contain palm oil.


Palm oil is a common vegetable oil, and its cheap price comes at a tremendous cost to the environment, animals and humans. Whilst amazing initiatives have been formed in attempt to certify sustainable sources, they haven’t been all that successful yet as the palm oil supply chains are hard to track and confirm their sustainability claim. Unless there is concrete evidence that real change has been made to ensure all palm oil is sustainably sourced, avoiding buying products with palm oil is all we can do as conscious consumers.