New Zealand based confectionery brand, RJ’s, has announced as of 5 July, they will be 100% Palm Oil Free, and are urging Kiwis to “Ask The Question” about what’s in their food.
Palm oil is found in up to 50% of all supermarket products, from food to cleaners to cosmetics, but many people don’t know it because under New Zealand labelling laws it can simply be claimed as “vegetable oil” on the packaging.
The iconic confectionery company, who operate from their factory in Levin, have not only removed palm oil, but it has also worked with its suppliers, to make sure all ingredients being used in RJ’s products are 100% Palm Oil Free.
Jason Clements, RJ’s Confectionery General Manager for New Zealand and International, is proud of the commitment they’re making to the environment.
“Here at RJ’s, our new Mission Statement is “Makes it Better” and going 100% Palm Oil Free is an exciting step in our journey,” he says. “Ultimately, we are both manufacturers and consumers and we know that it is our consumption habits that are driving an increasing need for palm oil. If we can both educate and provide a better alternative – then it will hopefully make a small difference to what has become a large environmental problem”.
“Very few New Zealand companies have made this step with both cost and complexity proving a barrier however we know it is important to our customers with our Kiwi lolly lovers asking us to do more. We’re excited to share this first step in our sustainability journey with them. When consumers ask for better from businesses like ours, they can effect real change”.
RJ’s is hoping that this accomplishment will encourage other Kiwi companies to follow suit, and truly believe that going Palm Oil Free is a great step towards a better future for the planet.
“Sustainability isn’t just a consumer trend businesses’ need to react to, it’s simply the right thing to do” says Clements, “We’re committed to providing the best product to our customers and we can now show real proof that we’re doing something better for our lollies, our customers, the planet, the rainforests and endangered animals like the orangutan.”
Removing palm oil and its derivatives from RJ’s range of products was a journey in itself. Over the course of three years, the business reviewed all ingredients across their supply chain, and, after rigorous testing and trialing to ensure that the RJ’s products Kiwi’s know and love remained the same, decided that both coconut and rice bran oil were the best alternatives from an environmental perspective, as well as a quality and flavour one.
To make way for palm oil plantations, rainforests in Southeast Asia are being cleared at an alarming rate, equivalent to around 300 rugby fields every hour, to keep up with the demand. This causes the loss of irreplaceable habitat, wildlife endangerment and enormous CO2 emissions.
From 5 July, every single RJ’s product made will be guaranteed 100% Palm Oil Free. These products will start to hit supermarket shelves through July, and while it will take a few months to phase out older products, customers can be confident that they are purchasing from a brand that is trying to make a difference.