Once you start looking for products without palm oil, you will be shocked to learn how many contain palm oil derivatives.
According to industry experts, palm oil is now in half of all packaged goods. It’s in hygiene items, cosmetics, and cleaning products.
While it takes a little bit of work, especially at first, there are ways to find products without palm oil.
Celebrate global climate change by not buying or using anything with palm oil.
Find palm oil free products
1. Buy products with less ingredients
Bottom line: Less ingredients = Less chance for palm oil
This is the case with food and non-food items.
2. Reference a list of alternate names for palm oil
This is essential. The International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Programme in Australia has researched all the ways palm oil is used. They have compiled a list of palm oil derivatives.
We have reprinted it with their permission. You can print it here.
In addition, reference their website. You can access the list from your phone before you buy anything. It contains the hundreds of ways palm oil is hidden in ingredient names. It’s in alphabetical order so you can somewhat easily check each label before you buy something.
It’s important to read the labels of everything you buy if you are trying to avoid products with palm oil.
(Yes, this will take time in the beginning. However, after a few times, you will know most of the derivatives you are looking for depending on the product, and it will become so much easier.)
3. Know why companies use palm oil derivatives
Learn about palm oil uses.
When you know the ways companies use it, you will be able to avoid the types of products that have it.
Until you investigate further, you may not know that ingredients like Vitamin A Palmitate — added to cereals to boost Vitamin A content to 10% or higher — contains palm oil.
Vitamin A Palmitate is also added to non-full-fat milk to boost Vitamin A. (Whole milk is typically free from palm oil.)
Manufacturers are using palm oil and palm oil derivatives in many ways and for different reasons.
4. Learn common names for palm oil
In addition to your list above, in time you will be able to quickly scan ingredients and recognize palm oil derivatives.
It will be easy for you to see “palm oil” and “palm kernel oil” spelled out in ingredients.
Start by: Not buying products with Palm-
Then, take it a step further: Don’t buy products with these common ingredients:
- Mono- & diglycerides
- Propylene glycol
- Vegetable oil — not specifying the type
Unless otherwise noted, they are typically made with palm oil. Here’s more information about names for palm oil.
When you’ve mastered that, take it a step further. Don’t buy products with these these types of words:
- Mono-, Di-, Tri- glycerides
- Sodium ______ (Many sodium ingredients in cleaning and hygiene products are derived from palm oil; look these up on the above-mentioned list.)
- Sorbitan esters
To learn how to find products without palm oil, you need to know places manufacturers use it.
Here are some categories of products that usually contain palm oil:
- Cake mix
- Donuts and desserts
- Granola, nutrition and energy bars
- Milk (unless it’s whole milk; even plant- and nut-based milks are often fortified with it)
- Vitamins and supplements
- OTC allergy medicine
Hygiene and self-care items:
- Lip balm
- Lotion and moisturizers
- Soap – bar and liquid
- Sunscreen — spray, liquid, and balm
- Spray cleaner (even eco-friendly-looking ones)
- Laundry detergent
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher detergent
Here are some categories of products that often contain palm oil:
- Ice cream
- Salad dressing
- Sport drinks, energy drinks
- Peanut butters, nut butters, spreads
6. Check labels every time
Often, companies change suppliers and ingredients. Some examples:
Nabisco now lists palm oil for every variety of Oreo cookie we’ve seen. However, they used to be palm oil free.
Every box of Ritz Crackers Originals we’ve seen in stores lists “palm oil” in the ingredients but they didn’t always. (Interestingly, the ingredients for this product on their website do not mention palm oil at all. It still includes soybean oil and cottonseed oil.)
In 2018, Peanut M&Ms started including palm oil. Now all of their Peanut M&Ms contain it.
Also in 2018, Post added Vitamin A Palmitate to their HoneyComb cereal.
You will also find that some versions of the very same products will have different ingredients. Companies use different vendors and recipes.
7. Look for palm oil free certification and labeling
Hopefully, more and more, companies will recognize that being palm oil free is considered something to promote and advertise.
We hope it will become more common and sought-out, much like “gluten free” and “no high fructose corn syrup.”
The first company to earn palm oil free certification status for some of their products in the United States is Enjoy Life Foods. They will have eight products certified as palm oil free.
Enjoy Life Foods becomes the first food company in the U.S. to receive Palm Oil Free Certification for its Grain & Seed Bars and Protein Bites.
Wild Friends Foods also has their products certified as palm oil free.
8. Keep learning and have patience
Once you have found some products free from palm oil, it will get easier to know what to look for.
9. Be loyal: Support the brands that are palm oil free
After looking for 100% palm free products, you will appreciate the companies who don’t use it. Sometimes it will truly feel like a victory!
Make a difference! Write them an email. Blast a positive note about them not using palm oil on social media.
Most of all: Buy their products.
Stay loyal to these companies so they keep their products free from palm oil.
10. Learn more about sustainable palm oil
Take some time to learn about sustainable palm oil and how the industry is regulated. Check many sources to be informed about all sides of this issue.
11. Learn about the issues with deforestation
Is palm oil bad? Learn about it.
How to find palm oil free products
There are so many packaged foods, supplements, medicines, hygiene, and cleaning products with palm oil and palm oil derivatives.
However, once you start knowing the types of ingredient names to look for, you will have an easier time of finding products free from palm oil.
You can find products without palm oil. You have to actively be reading labels and comparing them to the list referenced above in order to avoid it completely.
But once you are in the habit or reading labels, it takes just seconds. You will also learn to choose products with less ingredients overall. Additionally, you will know the types of products that use it.
Find products without palm oil derivatives
It’s in foods and self-care items you wouldn’t have ever considered. You are most likely using palm oil on a daily basis without realizing it.
If you are avoiding palm oil because of environmental concerns or health reasons, you need to know how palm oil is hidden in everyday products.
It will get easier when you know what you are looking for. Use these 11 ways to find products without palm oil.
We are not medical professionals, and this is not meant to be medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional. Always read labels.