In 2014, Rema removed palm oil from all its own brand products and stopped taking new products containing palm oil. The reason is that Rema did not want to contribute to the cutting down of the rainforest.
– Excluding palm oil is one of our hearts. But now we have a temporary reception because there is a shortage of sunflower oil due to the war in Ukraine, Rema 1000 category and purchasing director Line Aarnes tells Nettavisen.
Several suppliers are now changing the ingredients of several products, especially in the snacks category, and therefore Rema has decided to incorporate them into its stores.
Below is a list of which foods now contain palm oil instead of sunflower oil, which Rema 1000 carries in its stores:
In addition to the items listed above, there are three products where the supplier has replaced sunflower oil with a mixture of palm oil, sunflower oil and corn oil. This applies to 200 grams of Pringles Original, 200 grams of Pringles Paprika and 200 grams of Pringles Sour Cream and Onion.
Makes strict demands
Aarnes points out that they do not take in new products that contain palm oil.
– Obtaining sunflower oil is becoming more and more difficult, and therefore the need to use palm oil is increasing to avoid empty shelves, explains Aarnes.
If palm oil is used, it must be clearly stated in the list of ingredients, in any case for own brands
“We are not satisfied with having to accept products with palm oil, but we have a close dialogue with our suppliers,” says Aarnes.
Suppliers must apply to accept palm oil in the food products sold by Rema 1000, and Aarnes says they have strict documentation requirements to confirm this.
“We also maintain a close dialogue with the Rainforest Foundation and act according to their recommendations on how best to deal with this emergency,” says Aarnes.
Read also: Rema-Reitan announces changes to Norwegian food products
– Part of our responsibility
In the list of products whose recipe will be changed in the future, we can find cookies and chips. When asked if there will be more products on this list in the future, Aarnes answers that it is still too early to say.
– How do you think the use of palm oil affects sales?
– It is important for us to be transparent and for the customer to be able to choose. The customer is our highest boss and we want to make the choice easier, says Aarnes.
– Do customers care whether it is palm or sunflower oil?
– There are certainly different preferences in this regard. It is important for Rema to inform about palm oil, and we think it is important for the customer that we do this so that they can choose, she says.
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– amplifies another problem
Nils Hermann Ranum, head of the Rainforest Fund’s Zero Deforestation Program, says they are opposed to replacing sunflower oil with palm oil in several products as a result of the war.
– Although we know that the war in Ukraine will lead to shortages of several goods, including vegetable oil, we know that deforestation and the destruction of rainforests will continue. Palm oil is one reason for this, he tells Nettavisen.
– It is crucial that the food industry does not solve one problem by reinforcing another, he notes.
While Regnskogfondet is concerned about increasing demand for palm oil, Ranum feels that Norwegian food suppliers take deforestation seriously.
Over the past 20 years, rainforests in Southeast Asia have been massively deforested by palm oil plantations, says Ranum. He says increased demand has contributed to deforestation.
“We have told both Rema and other large food chains that if the use of palm oil becomes relevant, they must submit requirements that the palm oil used in the products they sell does not come from palm oil plantations from recently deforested areas,” he said. .
Ranum notes that he thinks Rema 1000 takes this seriously.
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