There are many conversations taking place about palm oil and the issues with its production. Some of our customers have expressed concerns or asked questions about the use of palm oil in our products so we wanted to provide a little bit more background as to why we use palm oil and our commitment to sourcing sustainable and organic palm oil.
What is palm oil?
Palm fruit oil is a unique oil that is found in many different products ranging from food to soaps and cosmetics. It is unique in its ability to provide texture to food products; whereas other plant-based oils require hydrogenation to achieve the same effect. Hydrogenation, a process that makes oils solid at room temperature, produces trans fats and is therefore not considered to be a suitable process to create healthy products.
Palm oil is produced in many tropical areas by a process that involves the pressing of palm fruit clusters from oil palms. The majority of palm oil is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia, and some of the practices taking place in these countries are causing some serious concerns.
Palm oil and the Environment
Palm oil’s versatility and unique physical properties have resulted in an increase in its global demand. We are now faced with serious environmental challenges, as rainforests are being cleared for palm oil plantations. Rather than re-planting in previously deforested areas, some producers of palm oil are destroying rainforests and are thereby contributing to habitat loss. Animals, such as the orangutan, are being displaced and killed in the process of non-sustainable palm oil production.
Fortunately, some companies will not stand for this type of palm oil production and are finding alternative ways to produce palm oil sustainably.
Palm oil and Daiya
All of the palm oil we source is from Brazil, which is not a natural habitat for orangutans. Our supplier, which is certified by EcoSocial and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), works with several independent farmers to replace slash and burn practices with a sustainable organic system. The company helps preserve forests surrounding the plantation by only replanting oil palms in areas that had been previously deforested.
Some people have suggested that we shouldn't continue making our wedges and slices until we can find an alternative to palm oil, but so many others have thanked us because Daiya wedges allow them and their children to enjoy some of their favorite foods. Based on the stories we hear every day, eating delicious, plant-based food with friends and family is also a significant value for many of our customers, especially to those who are faced with serious health and diet challenges. It is important to us to provide our customers with products that are as close to dairy-based cheese as possible and palm oil allows us to do this. We have spent a great deal of time researching and testing, but have yet to create the wedges and slices without it. This is why we are committed to making sure we source organic and sustainable palm oil.