Published on: October 29, 2021
Within a few days, many of us will have hordes of lively trick-or-treaters at our front doors, their bags and baskets held out in hopes of a good candy haul. Our job as good neighbors is, of course, to comply with that, helping these children to realize their dreams of amassing the candy stash to beat all stashes. And so we buy boxes of treats ahead of the big night, supporting all the big candy brands whose delectable concoctions have become familiar favorites over the years.
The only problem is, many of these candy products—delicious though they may be—contain palm oil, and palm oil can be a terrible ingredient from the perspective of the environment and wildlife.1 Most of the time it is produced on vast plantations in Southeast Asia and South and Central America that are created through the large-scale bulldozing and burning of ancient tropical rainforests.2 When mismanaged, this destroys habitats for many vulnerable and endangered species, including orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra and sloths in Ecuador.
Palm oil is desirable to candy makers for the consistency it lends to confectionery. Its versatility makes it appealing to manufacturers of a broad range of products, from prepared foods and baked goods to personal care and cleaning products, which is why it’s found in 50% of items in a typical supermarket.3
WWF explains why it’s so useful: “[Palm oil] is semi-solid at room temperature, so can keep spreads spreadable; it is resistant to oxidation, so can give products a longer shelf-life; it’s stable at high temperatures, so helps to give fried products a crispy and crunchy texture, and it’s also odorless and colorless, so doesn’t alter the look or smell of food products.”candy, holloween, palm oil
Palm can be grown for good, bringing benefits to:
Together, we can influence change for: