Palm oil, episode 2.

…The continuing story of one of the most controversial ingredients in the food industry in recent years

Palm oil is still a hot topic. When you go food shopping at the supermarket or the corner shop, or when you buy something from a vending machine, you can’t help but notice that the number of products stating that they are “palm oil-free” – such as biscuits, snacks and other food products – is growing.

It is the main vegetable oil used by 95% of the food industry worldwide but recently it has come under fire as being ‘unhealthy’, as well unkind to the environment.

In Italy in the past few months, many food companies, including the giants such as Ferrero, Unilever and Nestlè, have united to participate in the Italian Union for sustainable palm oil. This project hopes to change some of the misinformed perceptions concerning the effects of palm oil on health, and to promote the exclusive use of sustainable palm oil.

In terms of health, The Health Institute conducted a study which demonstrated that the consumption of palm oil doesn’t pose any health risks. Any harmful effects on the cardiovascular system are comparable to those of any other fat or oil. What counts is the quantity consumed and one’s personal diet, which should be ‘a bit of everything in moderation’, just like any other fat or oil.

Is the solution at sea?

Ferrero stepped in to identify a natural ingredient that could replace palm oil. Seaweed is the number one candidate because of its health benefits, thanks to the large quantities of ‘good’ fats, such as Omega 3, that are found in it.

A production line for the manufacture of snacks made of seaweed has been introduced in the Ferrero factory in Palomonte, in the Salerno province. Our snack&food vending machines, like Melodia, Rock, Jazz, Festival, Samba, Snakky and Tango are ready for the seaweed invasion!

In the meantime, the number of food companies that are eschewing palm oil in their production processes is growing – but is this just another publicity stunt, or do they really believe in it? Follow us to find out.

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