Global estimates state that up to 50 to 68% of supermarket products contain palm oil. In August, SASPO and WWF-Singapore led a data collection survey in a local supermarket to estimate that number in Singapore. Volunteers helped to comb through ingredient lists and found 722 products* containing palm oil or a palm derivative, of which only a mere 1.7% were RSPO-certified.
Out of the 12 RSPO-certified products recorded, 8 were vegetable cooking oil products. The other 4 was made up of a sandwich spread and frozen foods.
This exercise only scratched the surface of examining all products sold in a supermarket. However, it yields an important observation that palm oil and its derivatives are hidden and abundant in processed products. RSPO-certified products are also hard to find, with the exception of the cooking oil category.
Food and beverage outlets can begin their conversion to 100% sustainable palm oil through a stepwise approach and convert the lowest hanging fruit due to the abundance of supply in the Singapore market: cooking oil. Processed foods used by kitchens, such as condiments, bread, and emulsifiers will require a longer, meticulous approach. Such exercises will take at least a few years, and will require active support from upper management, communications
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*This number is likely to be greater as not all aisles were surveyed.