Palm oil is used in a broad range of food and personal care products, but there are serious concerns about the effect of the industry on the environment, as intensive plantations have led to deforestation in parts of Asia, destroying wildlife habitats and biodiversity.
The march towards using sustainable palm oil has been led by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and changing to palm oil that is sustainable or supports sustainability is now a big trend for manufacturers and retailers.
The NGO Greenpeace has also been instrumental in holding manufacturers and retailers to account over their palm sourcing practices. Since it exposed rainforest clearance by certain Indonesian producers last year, major companies like Unilever have switched suppliers.
Supply chain logistics
No time scale has been given by Casino for the switch to sustainable palm oil in its non-food products as supply chain logistics are still being worked out.
However, for the removal of the oil from its food products, Casino is confident that within 3 to 7 years every own brand food offering, which numbers approximately 571 products, will be reformulated.
A spokesperson for the retail chain told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com’s sister site FoodNavigator.com that 13 products already available at Casino already bear the palm oil-free logo, including breaded chicken, turkey cordon bleu and some sandwiches. Some 200 more will be added by the end of the year.
The same reformulation programme is also being rolled out for other supermarkets in the Casino group, Franprix, Leader Price and Monoprix.
Technically-speaking, palm oil is a useful food ingredient because it can provide expected texture and crustiness. Taking it out, therefore, will be no feat and some products will require more work than others to ensure gustatory properties are not impaired. The spokesperson said that biscuits are expected to be particularly challenging.
Other oils in the line up to replace palm oil include sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.