Please read labels before buying — don’t just toss candy in your cart. Here’s how to find Christmas holiday candy without palm oil.
Did you know palm oil ingredients are in all types of candies? Most don’t include “palm” in the name.
Lots more info below, but quickly, in the United States:
M&M’s Milk Chocolate, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses, and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars are fine if you are avoiding palm oil.
You can also find original Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups which don’t list palm oil ingredients. Read labels.
What’s great is consumers can find these at most all candy counters. Print the full list of Holiday candy without palm oil.
Palm oil is in all types of Christmas and holiday candies:
holiday chocolate, candy canes,
hard candies, licorice-types,
gummies, chocolate coins & oranges,
caramels, candies with pieces, & more
Candy companies continue to introduce new products and flavors, especially around the holidays. Remember, the more complicated the flavor, the more ingredients it has.
More ingredients = Greater chance for palm oil
In the last few years, it’s become the norm for candy companies to use palm oil as inexpensive ingredients in their candies.
Candy canes, mint ribbons, peppermint bark, and holiday chocolate often contain palm oil ingredients.
Palm oil in candy for the holidays and all year
In addition to looking for anything with “Palm” in the name, watch for these palm oil derivatives as well.
- Calcium Stearate
- 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.
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.
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.
Watch for palm oil in these types of candies during the holidays
- 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.
Look for solid milk chocolate or solid dark chocolate bars.
Why companies use palm oil in candy
Palm oil is inexpensive for companies to use. 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.
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 this year.
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-Flavored” likely contains palm oil.
“Chocolately” likely contains palm oil.
“Chocolate candy” 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 “Chocolately.”
In order to call a product Milk Chocolate, it must comply with stricter FDA regulations. NOTE: These can still contain palm oil ingredients. However, what makes the product “chocolate” won’t contain palm oil like it does with “chocolate flavored,” etc.
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.
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.
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)
- Organic Candy Cane Pops
- Organic Gummy Fruits (green holiday bag)
Look for candy canes with ingredients you recognize.
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)
Chocolate holiday candy without palm oil
- Milk Chocolate — silver foil
- Milk Chocolate with Almond — gold foil
- Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate — purple foil
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
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.
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.
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 in the new year.
Read labels before buying. Companies change ingredients. Avoid palm oil and palm oil derivatives in candy at Christmas and all year.
We will update this for Valentine’s Day and springtime, Easter-type candies as well.
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 Christmas candy.
The only way to ensure a product is Palm Oil Free is if it has earned Palm Oil Free certification from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme.