The availability of sustainable palm oil in Europe has been met with pledges by a number of food manufacturers to switch to palm oil that has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Earlier this month a consortium of Dutch industry groups said The Netherlands will use only palm oil obtained via one of the three RSPO models – segregated, book and claim, and mass balance – by 2015.
FrieslandCampina Kievit claims to be the first supplier of spray dried ingredients to seek certification. Managing director Ignas de Grefte told FoodNavigator.com that the company is currently planning the audit and expects to be audited and approved by early 2011.
He gave two main reasons for the move. “The first reason is one of principle. I think sustainability is the responsibility of everyone. Whoever can support making this world more sustainable has the moral obligation to do so.
“The second is that the market demands it. That starts with consumers. Consumers are worrying about the sustainability of chocolate and palm oil. Consumers will demand that their products are as sustainable as possible.”
FrieslandCampina Kievit’s production is 250 thousand metric tonnes a year, he said, made up of a wide range of products, some of which contain palm oil to a larger and greater extent. In total the volume of palm oil used is “significant” de Grefte said.
Its offering of spray dried emulsions includes creamers for use in hot beverages and soups, and fat powders for use in bakery pre-mixes and other baked goods that are stored at ambient temperatures.
They are also used in toppings, such as whipped cream replacers based in vegetable fats, as an ingredient in instant desserts, and for the encapsulation of omega-3 ingredients in infant formulas.
The company will use segregated palm oil where possible – that is, oil that has been kept separate throughout the whole supply chain. For some specific fractions of palm oil segregated supplies are not yet available. In these cases the company will use ‘book and claim’ or ‘mass balance’ oils.
‘Book and claim’ refers to users buying vouchers that cover the premium for the quantity of oil they use, but the oil they receive has not necessarily been sustainably produced; ‘mass balance’ is where refineries ensure the volume of certified oil they sell is equal to that which they buy, but it does not need to be the exact same molecules.
The ingredients company buys its palm oil from large refineries and does not import itself. But de Grefte said that because of the scale of its needs it cooperates closely with suppliers.
The switch covers all of the palm oil used by FrieslandCampina Kievit. De Grefte said the move will increase its costs slightly, and since its ingredient prices reflect its will mean its ingredients become “everso slightly more expensive”.
However he added that as the biggest buyer in its industry the company is able to secure supplies with a low premium.