Selfridges has become the first major retailer to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand food products.
The department store – which has stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester – has announced that 300 products in its Selfridges Selection range on sale in its food halls are now free of palm oil. The products include chocolates, biscuits, own-label cakes and seasonal mince pies.
The retailer has replaced the palm oil with alternatives derived from rapeseed, soybean and sunflowers.
Palm oil, a cheap and versatile ingredient, is currently found in around half of all supermarket products, from cakes and biscuits to toiletries.
According to the Indonesian government, an area almost the same size as the UK has been destroyed over the past couple of decades. That’s the equivalent of a football pitch every 25 seconds, with devastating impact to the habitat of endangered species including the orangutan.
Simon Forster, the managing director of Selfridges, said: “We’re committed to buying better to inspire change. The removal of palm oil from our Selfridges Selection range is the latest demonstration of this approach. We believe that until certified palm oil guarantees zero deforestation, our customers should be given the option to buy palm oil-free products. Our expectation is that all brands we work with are aware of and actively engaging with the issues surrounding palm oil and deforestation.”
Selfridges said the milestone had been achieved nine months ahead of target as part of its sustainable strategy, which aims to ensure that 50% of all products are better for people and the planet by 2022.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com