January 12, 2012

Palm Oil: Taking Over The World

Palm oil free and the best cookie dough in the world.

Since hearing about the damaging effects of palm oil production more than two years ago I've been checking labels trying to buy products without palm oil (besides, it's just used as a cheap shortening and I prefer real butter anyway). When I discovered some of the things I regularly bought had palm oil I stopped buying them and adjusted my eating or found an alternative product somewhere else. And when I found out that shampoos had palm oil? Well, we can relive my crushing sadness.

I shop mostly at Trader Joe's and Sprouts and most of the prepared products I buy are made directly by the companies, so I know which products are palm oil free. Fortunately, Trader Joes is pretty good about having nothing but real, genuine ingredients in their food, which makes it all the more disappointing when their freezer lunches occasionally have palm oil (I wrote them a letter). I love, love, love that Trader Joe's packaged cookie dough doesn't use palm oil because they have the best cookies and I would be devastated if I couldn't buy from there anymore. But because you never know where palm oil and its league of awful sidekicks are going to show up next, I still always check the ingredient list when buying just to be safe.

Which brings me to the point... It's become a compulsive habit to check food labels, so when I picked up a dark chocolate and unearthly delicious caramel Ghirardelli square I browsed the label. Palm oil was right there, like the fifth ingredient.


It's almost not even sad anymore. It's just literally in everything. Palm oil isn't even a quality ingredient: it's used as a cheap and lower-fat butter, so why would a high quality company like Ghirardelli use it? And now that I think back on my visits to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, their famous ice cream sundaes use Dreyers ice cream, which I learned a couple months ago has palm kernel oil.

Oh well... Ghirardelli Square is out of the way unless I'm already in Fisherman's Wharf, so it looks like I won't be making a trip there next time. Disappointments all over. At least their brownie mix doesn't have palm oil, and the directions call for vegetable oil, so I'm still buying that. And thank goodness, because Ghirardelli brownies are hands down the best you can buy in a box.


  1. We know how you feel! We're in New Zealand, and someone asked us about the ingredients in our new soap. Then they heard we had palm oil in it and said they'd been looking for years for soap without palm oil, and they'd just keep on looking!

    Well we changed the recipe of our soap, and we haven't looked back since.

    From the PalmOilFreeSoap.com Team

  2. Thank you for your comment! I checked out your website, and am very happy to see soaps being made with as strong a dedication to the environment as to health. I have (very mild) eczema so I've looked at ingredients for a few years. I was a little surprised to see you've sold out of all of your soap packages. I think the costs will be too high for me, but I'll bookmark your site for the future, because I'm definitely interested in trying your soap. Thanks for commenting!