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Raw Materials Made from Palm Oil

Below is a list of some raw materials typically made from Palm or Palm Kernel Oils. This list is not exhaustive and can change. The starred items are the only materials that currently have palm oil-free versions commercially available. Palm oil-free options are more expensive than their palm derived counterparts. Using materials that are less abundant, not grown on stolen land or with the help of child and forced labor (i.e. – more regulated), are simply going to be more expensive.

Raw Materials in Palm Oil

You most certainly have products in your bathroom right now that indirectly support deforestation. Almost all the basic raw materials responsible for creating emulsions are made from palm oil. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, sunscreens, foundation, mascara are all different types of emulsions and contain materials made from palm oil. If you drink milk alternatives (i.e.-soy, almond, oatmeal, hemp) they most likely contain vitamin A palmitate which is currently made from palm oil. If you use Reddi Whip vegan topping, that uses triglycerides currently made from palm oil.

Many of the items listed below (and above) can be made from other oils like coconut, rapeseed or soybean. The reason they are not is due to cost and availability of supply. Here’s an example. Let’s pretend you own a global brand and need 2 truckloads per month of isopropyl myristate to make a body oil. Coming for the chemical industry, I can tell you this is a common volume requirement for brands like Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal or P&G. Isopropyl myristate happens to be made from palm oil. Two truckloads is equal to 80,000-lbs of material. Replacing palm oil with soybean oil would result in an added cost of $26,080 per year. You will have to pass this cost along to the consumer. It’s not too big of an increase so you decide to do it.

Now you must think about raw material supply. The volume of soybean oil produced is driven by the quantity of soymeal demand. Soymeal gets used in animal feed. For every soybean produced, you get about 80% oil and 20% meal. Soymeal must also be used within 3 months or it will go bad. So soymeal demand is what drives soybean oil production. Over-production of meal means the US would start exporting soymeal and that would go to feed animals overseas. That might reduce deforestation (if tropical regions are willing to pay for feed) but not methane production from bovine flatulence. Also, if we reduce demand for beef in the US, the demand for soymeal goes down so we won’t produce as much oil. Now we are back to exporting soymeal to meet the increased demand for soybean oil or importing soybean oil from regions that have had issues with deforestation in the past.

The point of this exercise is there is no easy answer or quick fix. If we change one thing, it will affect something else. World population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. We must look at everything and especially our own behaviors. This complicated problem requires a multi-step solution that will most likely require revision a few times before we find a suitable equilibrium. Conscious consumerism is probably the best approach. What goes into what I buy? Where do those things come from? Do I need to buy it? Am I purchasing from the cheapest brand or one that is driven by making a change in the status quo?

Palm Oil Derived Raw Materials used in Food, Cosmetics and Personal Care

A

  • Adipic Acid/Diglycol Crosspolymer

C

  • Capryloyl/Caproyl Methyl Glucamide
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Cetearyl Glucoside
  • Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride
  • Coco-Glucoside

D

  • Diglycerides
  • Diheptyl Succinate
  • Decyl Glucoside

E

  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • Ethylhexyl Stearate

G

  • *Glycerin
  • Glyceryl Caprylate
  • *Glyceryl Stearate
  • Glyceryl Dilaurate
  • Glyceryl Oleate
  • *Glyceryl Stearate SE
  • Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-100 Stearate
  • Glyceryl Undecylenate
  • Glycol Stearate
  • Glycol Disterate

I

  • Isopropyl Laurate
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate

L

  • Lauroyl/Myristoyl Methyl Glucamide
  • Lauryl/Myristyl Polyricinoleate
  • Lauryl Glucoside
  • Lauric Acid

M

  • *Medium Chain Triglycerides
  • Monoglycerides
  • Myristic Acid

N

  • N-Butyl Stearate

P

  • Palm Oil
  • Palm Kernel Oil
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Propylene Glycol Stearate SE
  • Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate

S

  • Sorbitan Caprylate
  • Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine
  • Stearic Acid
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Stearyl Alcohol

T

  • Trimethylpentanediol/Adipic Acid/Glycerin Crosspolymer
  • Trimethylolpropane Tricaprylate/Tricaprate
  • Triglycerides

V

  • Vitamin A Palmitate

This blog created from information received from the USDA oil seed report for Feb 2019 as well as an interview with Bill George at the USDA. The Palm Free Council would like to thank Mr. George for his time.

Palm Oil Free Ingredients, Palm Oil Free Ingredient List