You’ve probably heard that palm oil isn’t the best for the planet or for your health. But what is this stuff, and why is it on the ingredient list of so many products?
Palm oil is a non-hydrogenated oil commonly found in food, beauty, and household products. In fact, it’s present in roughly half of all consumer goods, including beauty products, skin care, animal feed, cleaning supplies, and food. In soaps and cleansers, palm oil is used to remove dirt from hair and skin. In food products, it’s become a popular replacement for hydrogenated oils after the FDA called for a ban on trans fats in 2018. In nut butters, many companies add it to their product to keep oil separation from occurring.
So, what’s the down side to palm oil? First, as the most produced and consumed oil in the world, the production of palm oil has a major impact on the environment. The vast majority of palm oil comes from Southeast Asia - mainly Indonesia and Malaysia - where millions of acres of forests have been cleared in order to make room for palm oil plantations. This high level of deforestation greatly impacts the habitats of local wildlife, including endangered species like orangutans, elephants, and tigers. And beyond animals and plant life, many indigenous communities are driven out of their homes, and sometimes are forced to become laborers on the very same plantations that were once their own land. Palm oil is no friend to your health, either. While it is, in fact, trans-fat-free, it has very high levels of saturated fat can be detrimental to human health. In fact, one study showed that a diet high in palm oil can result in elevated levels of LDL cholesterol (that's not the good kind, either).
Knowing what we do about palm oil, it was a no-brainer for us to choose not to use it in our products. But beyond the obvious drawbacks of this additive, our decision also stems from one of our core values: the simpler, the better. For us, keeping all our products as clean as possible, using the fewest ingredients possible, and avoiding harmful industry standard processes are all very important. But how do we achieve such great flavor and consistency with only 1-2 ingredients in each of our products? It’s simple - we maintain incredibly high standards for sourcing our ingredients (read: we’re picky AF). As Zach discussed in our recent podcast interview, we searched high and low until we found the perfect peanut for our ideal peanut butter, the perfect almond for our ideal almond butter, and the perfect berries for our ideal jams. By using such carefully sourced ingredients, we were able to create a better tasting nut butter without the use of additives.
We take a lot of pride in having a clean label - meaning we take as much pride in what we do put into our products as what we don’t. And while that may result in a little oil separation in our jars (here’s a helpful video on how to deal with that), we believe that’s a good thing - it’s an indication that you’re getting an incredibly clean, all-natural product, that’s completely free of palm oil. Or as we like to say, it’s "Clean AF".