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Palm Oil Products | What Types of Products is Palm Oil In?

Palm Oil Products | What Types of Products is Palm Oil In?

You may be surprised to learn there are thousands of products that contain palm oil.  If you don’t see “palm” on an ingredient label, it may still contain it. Know that unless you are being very diligent about reading labels, there’s a high probability there is palm oil in products you have right now.

This includes packaged foods, self-care products, cosmetics, and laundry and cleaning products.

This site focuses on products that don’t contain any palm oil. However, it’s easier to avoid it when you know the products that contain it. Use this resource list as a guide to help you know what to look for.

So, which types of products contain palm oil? Here are some examples of palm oil products in these categories: Foods, Drinks, Self-Care, Cleaning, and Other.

Palm oil products ~ What contains palm oil?What food is palm oil in?

Foods that contain palm oil

  • Baked goods: Pre-made at the grocery store
    • Doughnuts
    • Cakes, cupcakes
    • Cookies, including refrigerated dough
    • Pies, tarts
    • Scones
    • Cobblers
    • Snack cakes
    • Also in items you use at home: Canned frosting, shortening, cake mixes, food dye, whipped cream, sprinkles
    • See desserts without palm oil.
  • Bread, rolls, including refrigerated dough
  • Candy
    • Chewy, including taffy, red whips
    • In pieces – Magnesium stearate, a palm oil derivative, keeps them from sticking to the machines
    • Chocolate and chocolate-flavored
    • It’s often in holiday candy
  • Cereal: With Vitamin A of 10% or greater, it likely has Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Cooking spray, grilling spray: If it doesn’t list palm oil, watch for Mono- and Diglycerides
  • Fast food
  • Food coloring and food dyes: Watch for propylene glycol, glycerin, Polysorbate 80
  • Fried onions in cans
  • Frosting 
  • Granola bars, snack, nutrition and protein bars
  • Gum
  • Ice cream, ice cream novelties: Most all soft serve ice cream contains Mono- & Diglycerides
  • Instant noodles
  • Mac & cheese cups and boxes: Watch for Medium Chain Triglycerides or Glycerol Monostearate
  • Margarine, buttery spreads
  • Medicine and Vitamins: Chewable, liquid, tablets, pills, gummy
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Peanut butter and nut butters
  • Pie crust
  • Pizza, including frozen pizza and refrigerated dough
  • Potato crisps
  • Refrigerated dough: Cookies, biscuits, rolls, pizza, etc.
  • Salad dressing
  • Shoestring potatoes in cans
  • Shortening
  • Spices, seasoning packs, mixes, extracts
  • Vegan products
  • Many more

Our son has a palm oil intolerance. This is a list of exactly what he eats. 

palm oil products affect orangutans

Clearing rainforests threatens orangutans and other wildlife.

Drinks that contain palm oil

Be sure to choose drinks with the least amount of ingredients.

  • Creamers
  • Drink mixes
  • Flavored drinks, coffees
  • Milk, including nut, soy, etc.: Unless it’s whole milk, it likely contains Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Sports drinks

Self-care products with palm oil

Palm oil is so common in these types of products. See our list for the personal-care products our son uses. 

Cleaners that contain palm oil

Detergents and cleaners — in liquids, pods, tablets, powders and sprays —  typically contain palm oil.

Even plant-derived, all natural, and eco-friendly ones have it. This is where it’s essential to know names for derivatives because you usually won’t see “palm oil” listed in the ingredients.

  • All-purpose spray
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Disposable sweeper pads
  • Floor cleaner
  • Furniture polish
  • Laundry detergent
  • Shower/tub sprays
  • Toilet cleaners
  • Window cleaner
  • Wipes

See list of palm oil free cleaning products.

Other products that contain palm oil 

  • Biofuel
  • Candles: Look for candles that say 100% soy wax, 100% beeswax, etc. Choose palm oil free candles
  • Cough drops, throat lozenges
  • E-juice, e-liquid, vape juice
  • Medicine:
    • In gel caps, tablets, pills: Magnesium Stearate, Calcium Stearate are made from palm oil
    • In liquids: Glycerin and Propylene Glycol are made from palm oil
  • Vitamins: In liquid, gel, gummy, tablet

What products contain palm oil

According to Rainforest-Rescue.org, palm oil in foods is the greatest worldwide demand, taking 71% of the market for palm oil. Consumer products account for 24% total palm oil use. Energy accounts for 5% of global demand.

Palm oil is common in items you may not expect. You can learn more by reading labels. You will may notice Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil are common.

what doesn't contain palm oil

Lots of different names for it

Other times, you may see Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Red Palm Oil, or Organic Palm Oil. If you are interested in avoiding palm oil products, it’s important to not buy items with these palm ingredients.

Once you start reading labels, you will become more familiar about the types of products that contain palm oil. In so doing, you may have questions about other ingredients that seem similar.

The scientific name for the palm oil that companies use in products is Elaeis guineensis. This type of palm oil comes from the oil palm tree.

The oil palm tree is not the same type of palm as coconut. Also, Caranuba wax is different. They are all “from palm trees” but there are many different types of palms.

palm oil in products

Palm oil from Elaeis guineensis is what companies use in products.

See our post Palm Oil Allergy for more info.

Why is palm oil in these products?

There are many reasons why palm oil is in everything.

It’s cheap

One reason is because palm oil is inexpensive. It’s a productive crop in that farmers can grow more palm oil per hectare than other oils. Especially in Sumatra and Borneo, developers are clearing rainforests to make way for more palm oil plantations. This seriously threatens native species.

It’s versatile

Another reason palm oil is in everything is because it’s a versatile vegetable oil. It works in many ways in many different types of foods.

Many properties

It has a high melting point and can remain semi-solid at room temperature. This makes it work equally well in creamy products — in everything from food spreads, dressings, lotions, shampoo and frosting — as well as in products that need to be more solid — like bar soaps, lip balm, shortening, and deodorant sticks. 

Shelf life

In addition, companies also use it to increase the shelf life of products. It works as a preservative in food and non-food items. 

Crunchy or chewy

This versatile oil can help foods keep their crunch. Used other ways, palm oil enables processed foods to be chewy.

Mouthfeel

It works very well to enhance the mouthfeel of products. This is why common palm oil products include dough, ice cream, margarine, spreads, creams, fillings, shortening, canned frosting, etc.

Who uses it?

Manufacturers put palm oil in everything from soap to laundry detergent, dish soap, to processed foods including baked goods, instant noodles, granola bars, candy, and more.

Replaced trans fats in processed foods

Palm oil works well to replace trans-fats that were once so common in foods.

Since the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned trans fats in foods in the United States, companies needed to find replacements. Because palm oil works in so many ways, companies changed recipes and started adding it to their foods.

Items containing palm oil ingredients

If you are trying to avoid products that use palm oil, start by reading labels. Don’t buy products with any palm- ingredients. After that, learn the other names for palm oil derivatives in common, everyday items.

Pick a product and find a palm oil free option. Sometimes all the options in a category contain palm oil. You may have to do without or make your own.

After you find a product without it, continue to be brand-loyal as long as it remains palm oil free.

After that, choose another product without it. This website has examples of palm oil free products in many categories, including soaps, deodorant, toothpaste, sunscreen, shampoo, candy, cereal, etc. We have a very popular post which lists all of them together.

You may be surprised at what types of items at the store contain palm oil. If you want to avoid palm oil products because of environmental concerns and the controversy surrounding sustainable palm oil, this website is a good place to start.

We started this website because our son gets very sick from palm oil and palm oil derivatives. He has allergy symptoms from it. We consider him to have a palm oil intolerance.

Many people choose either sustainable palm oil or products without it at all.

There’s a lot you can do if you are trying to avoid it.

Tips to start making a change

You can start by taking some easy first steps such as buying more fresh fruits and vegetables. After that, you can try to cook from scratch more.

Then, you can learn some recipes and bake from scratch — without using shortening — instead of buying pre-made desserts from the grocery store. 

These are our favorite items to help lessen our dependence on palm oil.

You can use less self-care items overall. After you get in that habit and need to buy replacements for the items you use frequently, you can substitute palm oil free options. 

Making simple switches at home is a great place to start. Use baking soda, vinegar, or lemon for cleaning.

Read labels so you can find the products that use palm oil and choose the ones that don’t. Remember, there hundreds of names for palm oil, and there are dozens of ways companies use it because it’s so versatile. It’s also inexpensive.

Print out this list of names for palm oil.

Because there are so many derivative names, there are thousands of products that contain palm oil. It can also hide under “Natural Flavors” in certain types of foods. 

Sharing is caring!

Allergy City

Sunday 29th of May 2022

researching chobani yogurt and I’ve found natural flavors listed in their yogurt ingredients, in all of them. This is their statement, found online, about their use of palm oil.

I’m not going to trust eating it, until I contact them. Unless someone else knows for sure where they derive their natural flavors from? thanks!

“Sourcing palm oil the right Chobani uses a very small amount of palm oil in a few of our mix-in ingredients for Chobani® Flip® products. But no matter how small the amount, we want to source it right. Chobani supports the Principles & Criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and requires that all palm oil, palm kernel, or any palm derivatives sourced for its products be Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) within the RSPO framework. Since 2016, 100% of the palm oil we've sourced has been CSPO and we actively encourage our suppliers to adopt the RSPO NEXT standards, which allow for independent, third-party verification that ensures our entire supply chain is respecting workers and the planet when sourcing this ingredient.”

editor

Friday 10th of June 2022

It is difficult to know about what Chobani's Natural Flavors contain. We avoid buying their yogurt with the mix-ins (such as Chobani Flip products) which is where palm oil tends to be in yogurt.

We regularly buy the box of Chobani Greek Yogurt with Fruit on the Bottom from Costco. The pack at Costco contains Chobani Greek Yogurt with four flavors: Blueberry, Black Cherry, Strawberry, and Peach. My son eats them without issue. I've also bought other Chobani Greek Yogurt fruit flavors at my local grocery store.

Allergy City

Wednesday 25th of May 2022

I r be a list of ingredients for Don’t Go Nuts Bars, from the manufacturer. “Organic Flavor (Organic Alcohol, Water, Natural Aromatic Flavor).” I’m not sure if this ingredient description addresses palm oil. I don’t know what to make of natural aromatic flavors? Any input is helpful. Thanks!

editor

Friday 27th of May 2022

I have never seen that on an ingredient label. If you ask them and they write back, please let me know.

Allergy City

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

Hi Again, I wanted to ask if you were able to share what you meant when, I think you mentioned, mood or behavior changes in your son when he’d eat palm oil? I don’t wanna pry, but I’ve been noticing some mood changes in myself and it only happens on the days that I use a certain product on my skin, that I now believe contains palm oil. Furthermore, I believe my child might be allergic to Palm oil because they seem to go from calm to flipping out and angry and it is happening more and more after eating, and it seems to be foods that contain palm oil, usually in the form of natural flavoring. I also wonder if the palm oil messes with blood sugar and if that could be the underlying issue or just another contributing factor. I believe my child is hypoglycemic, as I believe I am… my mother definitely has been since she was young. So, just a thought. Thanks! Again, for all of your help! Sincerely.

editor

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

It has only happened a few times, thankfully, but he was very lethargic and tired. He had what I can only describe as a personality change and seemed to experience a sense of doom, was so tired, whiny (very unlike his usual personality). Each time, the next day, he had no recollection of it. Thinking back, two of the times this happened, he had ingested liquids. Once it was a sports drink and once in sherbet (sort of liquid). It happened 2 - 3 other times but I don't remember what he ingested.

The fact that I'm remember the liquids is making me wonder if it went right into the system instead of needing to be broken down and digested.... I am not a medical person. I am just trying to make sense of it!