If you’re a Muslim, you probably shouldn’t be thinking about chocolate right now. It is, after all, the start of Ramadan.
But what about palm oil? Don’t you think it’s a odd ingredient in chocolate? Who, after all, wants to eat palm oil chocolate?
Cadbury’s in Australia didn’t think so. Recently, they substituted cocoa butter for palm oil in their chocolate bars.
Unfortunately for them, they backed down on their decision and went back to cocoa butter.
1. Consumers didn’t like the new taste
2. Consumers thought palm oil was less healthy than cocoa butter
3. Clearing of the jungle for oil palm plantations was decimating the orang utan population
Cadbury’s decision was consumer driven. Whether or not the reasons were justified, it was the perception that mattered.
On page 42 of my History of Malaysia – A Children’s Encyclopedia I mention that:
The oil palm is a native of West Africa … The tree was introduced in the Malay peninsula in the 1850s but only became a strong export commodity a hundred years later. Malaysia is the largest exporter and producer of palm oil.
So this is not good news for the Malaysian economy, particularly palm oil exporters. This decision may seem insignificant, but, whether the reasons are justified or not, it’s the perception that matters.
So, would you eat Palm Oil Chocolate?