Did you know palm oil ingredients are in all types of candies? Most don’t include “palm” in the name. Please read labels before buying — don’t just toss candy in your cart. Here’s how to find palm oil free Christmas and holiday candy.
Palm oil is cheap; that’s why companies use it. Chocolate candy, candy advent calendars, peppermint candy, stocking stuffer candy, Christmas candy gifts, and holiday favorites all often contain palm oil. Holiday versions of classics often contain it as well.
Even candy canes can contain palm oil.
Lots more info below, but quickly, in the United States, these DO NOT contain palm oil:
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – original. Make sure they don’t list palm oil ingredients. Avoid the holiday versions.
What’s great is consumers can find these at most all candy counters.
Palm oil in holiday candy and all year
Table of Contents
These are ways candy companies use palm oil in candy without everyday consumers knowing about it. Take a few seconds to read labels for your favorite candies. In addition to looking for anything with “Palm” in the name, watch for these palm oil derivatives in candy as well.
- Calcium Stearate
- Glycerin, Glycerine
- Glycerol Monostearate
- Magnesium Stearate
- Medium Chain Triglycerides
- Mixed Tocopherols
- Mono- and Diglycerides
- Stearic Acid
- Anything with Palm in it as in Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Palm Oil, etc.
Candy companies continue to introduce new products and flavors, especially around the holidays.
The more complicated the flavor, the more ingredients it has.
No matter what the product: More ingredients = Greater chance for palm oil
Why companies use palm oil in candy
Palm oil is inexpensive for companies to use. In addition, it’s also very versatile. Candy companies use palm oil in many ways, including:
- Creates mouthfeel — makes candies smooth and creamy
- Preservative to maintain shelf-life
- Maintains freshness
- Adds shine to candy
- Prevents blooming (when chocolate turns white from not being stored properly)
- As an emulsifier so the ingredients blend together
- Prevents candy pieces from sticking to the machines
Also, as companies invent new candy flavors, they often contain palm oil ingredients.
Palm oil is common in these types of candies
- Peppermint bark
- Chocolate bars with a coating
- Filled candies and candy bars
- Crispy candy bars
- Crunchy chocolate bars
- Creamy fillings
- Shiny hard candies, mint ribbons, candy canes, etc.
- Candies in pieces
- Gummy candies
- Caramels, chews, nougats
- Christmas chocolate in boxes
- Holiday chocolate in wrappers
- Candy corn
Choose solid milk chocolate or solid dark chocolate bars.
What is the chocolate product called?
Before buying chocolate, look on the front at the product description. What is it called?
There is a difference between “Milk Chocolate” and “Chocolate Flavored.”
We often grab and go, without reading product descriptions.
The best example I can give of this is what happened with Hershey’s
Mr. Goodbar last year (2019). It used to be called “Milk Chocolate.” It did not list “Palm Oil” in the ingredients.
Hershey’s changed it to “Chocolate Candy.” The ingredients under this product name now include Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil.
Watch for the ways the companies describe their products.
“Chocolate candy” is allowed to contain palm oil.
“Chocolate-Flavored” is allowed to contain palm oil.
In addition, “Chocolaty” and “Chocolatey” likely contains palm oil.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stricter criteria for “Chocolate” than it does for “Chocolate-Flavored,” “Chocolate Candy,” and “Chocolatey” / “Chocolaty.”
The FDA has chocolate standards. In order to call a product Milk Chocolate, it must comply with stricter FDA regulations.
NOTE: “Milk Chocolate” can still contain palm oil ingredients. However, what makes the product “chocolate” won’t contain palm oil like it does with chocolate-flavored, chocolate candy, and chocolatey.
Candy canes without palm oil
Many candy canes contain palm oil ingredients. Some to watch for are:
- Citric Acid
- Glycerine (with or without the word “Vegetable”)
- Natural Flavors
- Palm Oil
Watch for Glycerin, Glycerine, and Glycerol which are common in candy canes. These are palm oil derivatives.
Other Christmas candy that may contain palm oil ingredients
Where else is palm oil hiding in Christmas candy?
- Fruit Roll-Ups contain palm oil.
- Fun Dip now contains Calcium Stearate which may be a palm oil derivative.
- Starburst and Skittles contain palm oil.
- Gummy bears and Haribo Goldbears contain palm oil.
- Fruit Snacks often contain palm oil ingredients, including Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Glycerin, Natural Flavors, and others.
Common palm oil derivatives in gummy candies are Palm Kernel Oil. Glycerin from palm oil also hides in the Natural Flavors.
In the last few years, it’s become the norm for candy companies to use palm oil as inexpensive ingredients in their candies.
Holiday candy without palm oil
Please note, this list is not guaranteed. Use it as a starting point. In order to ensure a product is palm oil free, it should have the Palm Oil Free label from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme or the Orangutan Alliance.
Our son has a palm oil allergy / intolerance. Because he is able to have these candies safely, we believe they are palm oil free. However, they are not guaranteed palm oil free. People avoid palm oil for dietary reasons and for environmental reasons. Palm oil demand increases deforestation.
- Hershey’s Kisses Christmas
- Milk Chocolate:
- Bag with red, green, & silver foils;
not Hershey’s Hugswhich have lines on the foils
- Santa Hat Milk Chocolate Kisses
- Silver foil
- Bag with red, green, & silver foils;
- Milk Chocolate with Almond – gold foil
- Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate – purple foil
- Giant Milk Chocolate Kiss 7 oz
- Milk Chocolate:
Note: Their newest holiday flavor, Hershey’s Holiday Sugar Cookie Kisses, contain palm oil and palm kernel oil.
- Candy canes
Look for candy canes with ingredients you recognize. Some candy canes without palm oil derivatives include:
- Bob’s Sweet Stripes
- Peppermint Stir Sticks 5oz (at Target)
- Spangler Candy Canes
- Natural Peppermint
- Wholesome Organic Candy Canes
- Holiday Candy Canes (at Target)
- Holiday Mini Candy Canes (at Target)
- Bob’s Sweet Stripes
Peppermint candy without palm oil
- Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Peppermint Candy (at Target)
- York Peppermint Patties Dark Chocolate Coated Peppermint Patties with “Happy Holidays”
- Market Pantry Peppermint Starlight Mints Hard Candy (at Target)
- Market Pantry Soft Peppermint Puffs 7 oz (at Target)
- YumEarth! Organic Candy Cane Pops
- YumEarth! Organic Gummy Fruits (green holiday bag)
Chocolate holiday candy without palm oil
Hershey’s Kisses Christmas holiday packaging in bags:
- Milk Chocolate — bag with red and green foils
- Santa Hat Kisses are the same as Milk Chocolate — top of foil wrapper is red, bottom is silver
- Milk Chocolate with Almond — bag with red, green, and gold foils
- Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate — bag with red, green, and purple foils
Other holiday Kisses: Be sure you are buying “Milk Chocolate Kisses”
- Santa Hat Mini Kiss 1.45 oz
- Giant Milk Chocolate Kiss — 7 oz and 12 oz
- Milk Chocolate Kisses in plastic candy cane
- Kisses Holiday Sleeve 1.6 oz
- Hershey’s Kisses Holiday Advent Calendar 3.8 oz
Hershey’s Bars — all sizes
- Milk Chocolate
- Milk Chocolate with Almond
- Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate
- Milk Chocolate 1 Pound Bar
- Milk Chocolate 3 Pound Holiday Milk Chocolate (saw at Walmart)
- Hershey-ets Holiday Filled Candy Cane 1.4 oz
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Snack Size Cups (original version)
Choose the original packaging — avoid holiday labeling — and recipe to be sure you avoid palm oil.
Please note, M&M’s doesn’t make claims these are palm oil free. They do not list palm oil ingredients on their labels which is why we are including them here. My son — who gets sick from palm oil — enjoys them safely.
- Milk Chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
M&M’s Christmas packaging in bags:
- Milk Chocolate — red and green M&M’s
- Almond — red and green M&Ms
Other M&M’s holiday packaging — Be sure you buy the Milk Chocolate (and not in Peanut which contains palm oil).
- Giant M&M’s Christmas Yard Bar 30.42 oz
- M&M’s Christmas Box 3.1 oz
- Light & Sound Christmas Tree .46 oz
- (Green) Holiday Ornament Tin
- Christmas Story Book
- Mini’s Mega Tube 1.77 oz
- Mini Tube Naughty or Nice 1.08 oz
- Holiday Mini’s Milk Chocolate 4 Pack Tubes 4.32 oz
- Minis Baking Bits
- Holiday Candy Cane (plastic cane filled with Milk Chocolate M&M’s) 3 oz
- Silky Smooth Promises Milk Chocolate
- Gifts Milk Chocolate
Other holiday chocolate without palm oil
There are many fair-trade certified labels with milk chocolate and dark chocolate that don’t contain palm oil. Again, choose the ones with the least amount of ingredients.
Read labels and avoid Tocopherols if the source isn’t listed — it’s often from palm oil — even in “eco” brands of chocolate.
Chocolate oranges and chocolate coins often contain palm oil. Those made in European countries typically do not.
Boxed specialty chocolate on the shelves typically contain palm oil to preserve shelf life (among other things).
Holiday hard candy – read labels
Watch for Magnesium Stearate and Calcium Stearate. These are palm oil derivatives. Candy manufacturers use them because they help keep the candies from sticking to the machines.
You might not expect palm oil to be in mint ribbons and other brightly-colored hard candies in plastic bags. Read labels. Most contain palm oil.
Finding palm oil free Christmas Candy
Did you know there are hundreds of names for palm oil derivatives? We used the list from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme and condensed it for easy printing here.
Avoid mixed bags of holiday candies. At least one kind will contain palm oil.
You will have greater success finding palm oil free candy by purchasing candy bags separately. All the holiday candy mix bags we found for Christmas contain palm oil.
Also, if you don’t see your favorite candies on this list, they may contain palm oil and palm oil derivatives. Check out our comprehensive list of Halloween candy without palm oil for more info. Read labels in stores. It only takes a few seconds.
Remember, there are many more holiday candies with palm oil than without it.
Palm oil is common in
holiday chocolate, candy canes,
hard candies, licorice-types,
gummies, chocolate coins & oranges,
caramels, candies with pieces, & more.
Note, gum usually contains palm oil in the form of Glycerin or Glycerol.
Palm oil free holiday candy
Many people avoid palm oil because of environmental concerns. There are also consumers who avoid it because they experience reactions from it. Please use this list as a starting point.
Whether you are buying candy for baking, to fill the stockings, for gifts, to put out at work and at parties, or to enjoy at home, you can find Christmas candies without palm oil ingredients.
It’s also possible to find Valentine’s candy without palm oil.
You just have to know what to look for and what to avoid.
Take a few extra sections to look for these candies above and read labels.
When shopping, it’s tempting to just grab whatever candy catches our eye. However, by reading labels before buying, you can make a big impact.
We are grateful to these candy companies above for not including palm oil ingredients in these products.
Be loyal to these products. We hope they will continue to make them without palm oil.
Read labels before buying. Companies change ingredients. Avoid palm oil and palm oil derivatives in candy at Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, every other holiday, and all year.
Holiday candy throughout the year
Have you noticed a trend?
No matter the season or holiday, it’s becoming more of a challenge to find candy without palm oil.
Even if you don’t completely eliminate palm oil from your purchases, there are easy ways to learn how to use less palm oil each week.
Please do not use this for medical advice. This list is not guaranteed. Use it as a starting point and as a way to be more aware of palm oil in Valentine’s candy and other holiday candy. See what our son can eat even though he is palm oil free.
Support Palm Oil Free certification!
The only way to ensure a product is Palm Oil Free is if it has earned Palm Oil Free certification from Orangutan Alliance or the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme. Support Palm Oil Free certification labeling!