Iceland supermarket reversing decision on palm oil ban

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE 

ICELAND supermarket’s recent decision to reverse its ban on palm oil and return to the crop despite its scepticism over sustainable palm oil proved its importance in fulfilling the demand-supply gap of global oils and fats, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said. 

Palm oil has also proven its versatility and functionality as an ingredient for the food sector. 

“In fact, Iceland Foods Ltd MD Richard Walker admitted that there is no other suitable alternative for the currently used sunflower oil except for palm oil for the formulation of certain recipes for processing properties or taste,” MPOB DG Datuk Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir told Bernama. 

On Monday, a UK broadsheet Daily Telegraph reported that the supermarket company Iceland Foods had been forced to reverse a ban on palm oil amid an acute shortage of sunflower oil. 

Walker had reportedly expressed “huge regret” about having to row back on its pledge to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand items. 

In 2018, Iceland supermarket pledged to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods due to the allegation that palm oil is one of the major drivers of deforestation. 

However, it was then found that Iceland has missed its own deadline for removing palm oil from its own-brand products by the end of 2018, and took its name off the packageing of some lines instead to allow more time to reformulate them. 

Explaining further, Ahmad Parveez said if Iceland is genuinely promoting environmental sustainability, the supermarket chain should advocate the use of sustainable certified palm oil rather than ban palm oil from all its own-brand foods because it does not solve the issue. 

“The fact that the Iceland supermarket’s 2018 negative campaign on palm oil was pulled from television advertisement after it was deemed as “too political” proved that the ban on palm oil is only a marketing strategy and “gimmick” designed to mislead and deceive consumers by using the unfavourable perceptions towards palm oil,” Ahmad Parveez stressed. 

He said Malaysia, being the second-largest producer and exporter of palm oil, is putting serious efforts into ensuring that it is providing the world with the goodness of its palm oil without compromising the environment.