Palm Oil: Can it ever be worth it?
Reviewed on 30.06.2023
It might be great for babies, but it’s not always great for the environment – we all know that palm oil has had a lot of bad press in recent years. That’s why, being true to our sustainable HiPP values, we set out on a mission to source great quality, genuinely more sustainable palm oil that’s better for people and nature.
Is palm oil safe to use?
The infant nutrition industry is highly regulated amongst other things, to ensure the quality, safety and use of appropriate ingredients within products for infants and young children.
Our Formula milk is based on 60 years of breastmilk research, and we have chosen to use palm oil as part of our fat blend for its palmitic acid content.
Infant formulas contain a mixture of plant-based oils e.g. palm, sunflower, rapeseed, as they each contain a different profile of fatty acids. Palm oil is specifically used as it is the only plant oil that is rich in palmitic acid (32-57%). Sunflower and rapeseed oils are used for their higher content of mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. By using a blend of these oils, it is possible to achieve a beneficial fatty acid pattern.
In 2014, EFSA concluded that, due to a lack of convincing evidence of benefit, there was no need for the palm oil used in formula milks to be modified1 And in 2019, ESPGHAN confirmed that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that palm oil should be avoided as a source of fat in infant formulas for health reasons. So the continued use of palm oil in formulas appears to be completely justified.
Palm Oil Sustainability
Many of the concerns related to palm oil are not about its health effects, but rather its environmental impact. Unfortunately, much of the world’s palm oil is produced using agricultural methods that are detrimental to ecosystems and biodiversity. However, HiPP is the only formula brand in the world to use sustainably-sourced, socially-responsible organic palm oil. This means it has been grown without reliance on slash-and-burn agriculture or the destruction of rainforests. Certified palm oil protects the environment and the local communities who depend on it for their livelihoods.
So not all palm oil is the same. You can feel confident that the palm oil used in HiPP formula milks is cultivated on certified organic plantations.References:
1. EFSA (2014). Scientific Opinion on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae. The EFSA Journal 2014; 12(7):3760