The decision by French companies like Casino and Systeme U to remove palm oil from their products follows years of increasing use of palm oil to remove trans-fats from the European food supply. These trans-fats were developed to replace palm and coconut oils with partially hydrogenated rapeseed and soy oils. We now know that the emergence of the toxic substance trans-fatty acids contributed to the significant increase of cardiovascular disease throughout Europe and the US.
Research has demonstrated that refined palm oil’s impact on cardiovascular health is neutral, neither raising cholesterol levels nor affecting peoples’ cardiovascular health. And unrefined palm oil has in fact proven to have an entirely positive effect, reducing the incidence of atherosclerosis (hardening of veins and arteries) and significantly benefitting peoples’ neurological health. And boasting some of the highest levels of Vitamin A and E, unrefined palm oil can well be recognized as a superfood.
However, these French companies are turning to more costly vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil and soybeans, to replace palm oil. However, these oilseeds do not boast the same nutritional benefits as palm oil, and lack the characteristics needed to meet the needs of food producers. And with rising food prices throughout the world as a result of droughts and poor yields, palm oil will continue to benefit from lower prices than its competitors.
French consumers, and consumers throughout Europe, deserve to enjoy the highest quality food products made from natural, trans-fat free fats and oils. Palm oil remains the best placed to meet this need, affordably.