Cadbury New Zealand Move Won't Hurt Palm Oil

The world palm oil industry, led by top producers Malaysia and Indonesia, is unlikely to feel any significant impact from Cadbury New Zealand’s move to stop using the commodity in chocolate as its substitute, cocoa butter, is expensive and in short supply.

Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Dr Ahmad Ibrahim said that other chocolate and food manufacturers were not likely to follow suit because palm oil was the cheapest fat substitute available compared with hydrogenated soyabean.

“The move is not made out of scientific argument or nutritional data consideration but rather caving in to immense pressure by international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the environment agenda.

“Cadbury is just paying lip service and this is just a gimmick by the NGOs. It will not affect the international palm oil market, which has good fat discipline. Produce our own palm oil story and let the consumers decide,” Ahmad told Business Times in a telephone interview yesterday.

On Monday Cadbury New Zealand bowed to consumer pressure and agreed to stop using palm oil in its chocolates.

The confectionery giant had received hundreds of complaint letters and e-mails after it disclosed a new recipe substituting cocoa butter with vegetable fat, including palm oil.

Cadbury New Zealand managing director Matthew Oldham told a New Zealand television station that their recipes would now only use cocoa butter.

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, New Zealand bought 22,293 tonnes of palm oil last year, or 1.1 per cent of Malaysia’s exports of more than two million tonnes.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron said the palm oil market was unlikely to be affected by the smear campaign as New Zealand was a small buyer.

“This measure is unbecoming attitude to the tune of the NGOs and not based on investigative facts. They have a lot more to lose compared to us,” Yusof said.

He added that the council will publish an open letter on its website to dispel the misconception surrounding the use of palm oil in chocolate products. Source : Business Times by Zaidi Isham Ismail

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