Which Bread Is Palm Oil Free in the UK?

Bread

Many of us will have enjoyed a slice of toast for our breakfast this morning, or perhaps made sandwiches for ourselves and our families.

There’s no doubt that bread is one of our favourite foods in the UK, with nearly 12 million loaves sold each day.

Unfortunately, many of us may not realise that our daily consumption of shop-bought bread could be contributing to deforestation and the destruction of animal habitats.

The majority of bread bought at supermarkets contains palm oil, a type of vegetable oil derived from palm fruit grown on oil palm trees.

Palm oil plantations are currently the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia, with a rainforest area the equivalent of 300 football fields being destroyed every hour (source).

The palm oil industry is one of the most unsustainable industries in the world, and its growth is catastrophic to the habitats of many species of animals.

Over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades.

Palm Oil – A Hidden Ingredient

Of course, most of us won’t have realised that our everyday loaf of bread contains this controversial ingredient.

Even if you’ve checked the list of ingredients in your bread, palm oil can be disguised under many alternative names, such as ‘palm stearine’ and ‘cetyl palmitate’, or sometimes hidden under the general term ‘vegetable oil’.

Traditionally we think of bread containing basic, natural ingredients – after all, you only need flour, yeast, water and a little salt to make a loaf. So why are so many brands adding palm oil to their bread?

 

Why Is Palm Oil Used in Bread?

Palm oil is the only vegetable oil which acts in a similar wat to butter, with an almost 50-50 composition of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Because it remains solid at room temperature, it is easy to bake with, and it’s very cheap too.

It also allows bread to stay soft and fresher on supermarket shelves for longer.

 

Which Bread Brands Use Palm Oil?

At the moment, many of the biggest bread brands and supermarkets still use palm oil in their baking.

Allied Bakeries (owner of Allinson, Burgen, Kingsmill and Sunblest) still use palm oil, as do Village Bakery, Robert’s, Hovis and many supermarket own brands such as Morrison’s and Tesco’s.

Many of these brands are working towards using sustainable palm oil in their bakery products, but some studies have found that so-called sustainable palm oil may not be much better for deforestation than regular palm oil production.

So, if we really are concerned about the effects of deforestation, it’s better to buy bread that contains no palm oil at all.

Read on to find out where you can buy palm oil free bread in the UK and even how to try making your own.

 

Which Breads Are Palm Oil Free in the UK?

Iceland

Supermarket Iceland hit the headlines following their 2018 Christmas advert which tells the story of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production, and its devastating effect on endangered orangutans.

Iceland has also now removed palm oil from their own-brand foods, including their own bread.

You can buy Iceland’s own brand bread, including white, brown and malted varieties, from their website or in store.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers bread is already popular with those of us watching the scales and counting calories, but you might not be aware that all Weight Watchers bread is also palm oil free.

Weight Watchers bread is stocked in most supermarkets, so it’s easy to get hold of too.

Warburtons

Warburtons are one of the most recognised brands of bread in the UK. They still use palm oil in some products, but they received a best Ethical Consumer rating for their palm oil policy.

Warbutons currently have a range of gluten-free bread which is also free of palm oil, or you can try their Danish White, which is palm-oil free too.

Local bakers/markets

Another place where you can buy palm-oil free bread is your local bakery or artisan market.

Fresh bread from local bakeries tends to be made from locally-sourced ingredients, and is less likely to contain palm-oil and other unnecessary additives (although you may wish to check the list of ingredients with the baker).

Buying palm-oil free bread locally means you’ll be helping the environment and supporting local businesses too.

 

Making Your Own Bread

One way to guarantee that your bread doesn’t contain palm-oil is to make your own!

It’s a lot easier than you might think, and inexpensive too.

We’ve included a basic bread recipe below, but you can make all kinds of varieties using different types of flour and ingredients.

Basic Bread Recipe:

You will need:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 7g sachet instant yeast – make sure you choose a palm oil free brand such as Bioreal
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 300ml cool water

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt together.
  2. Make a small hole in the centre and pour in the olive oil and water. Mix well.
  3. Knead for around 5-10 mins on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper. Gently mould the dough into a ball by knocking it inwards several times until all the air is knocked out.
  6. Place the dough inside a clean plastic bag to prove for another hour until doubled in size.
  7. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
  8. Bake for 25-30 mins or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Alternatively, you might want to try a bread machine (see some on Amazon here).

They’re relatively cheap to buy, and you can wake up to the smell of freshly baked palm oil free bread each morning.

 

Palm Oil Free Instant Yeast

Unfortunately, a lot of instant yeast contains the emulsifier sorbitan monostearate, which comes from palm oil.

Many popular brands of instant yeast including Doves Farm and Allinsons contain sorbitan monostearate at the time of writing.

Instant yeast is rarely marketed as “palm oil free”, so instead you will have to look for emulsifier-free and organic yeasts, which are less likely to contain palm oil.

One palm oil free brand of yeast is Bioreal Organic Active Dry Yeast, which is free from emulsifiers including sorbitan monostearate.

Another brand that doesn’t have sorbitan monostearate on the ingredients list is Saf Levure Active Dried Yeast. This yeast just has ‘Yeast’ on the ingredients list, so it should be palm oil free.

7 thoughts on “Which Bread Is Palm Oil Free in the UK?”

    1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The article has been updated with some information on palm oil free instant yeast.

      1. I can’t see any palm oil in Hovis Farmhouse wholemeal. Could be that it is hidden in the ingredients list but I could not find any.

        1. Hi Janet, it could be that Hovis Farmhouse wholemeal is palm oil free. However, other Hovis products such as Hovis Wholemeal Thick Sliced currently do list palm oil as an ingredient.

          1. In regards to hovis farmhouse bread. As far as I know E472e is taken from palm. Have been trying to be palm free for 12 months now and it’s got to the point that it is almost impossible.

  1. http://spellorganics.com/sol-datem-300-2/

    Plam oil is near impossible to advoid! From shower gel to bread to instant noddles it is practical in everything and unless you have the wallet size to be able to afford palm oil free version from specialist sites unfortunately until the industry changes and uses a different oil which is just as easy ask pringles 🙂 which is so easily done!

    Even in crips dried milk or egg white even in quorn.. quorn often uses dried white egg or milk but they have slowly made some totally vegan products buy vegan doesn’t mean vegan plam oil free as most still have it in them which makes it even harder like c’mon lol
    you can’t advoid it!

    It’s literally in everything either stright of the bat like palm oil, palm fat, plam and yes even if it doesn’t say plam they have loads of ways to hide it like the Emulsifier Bread Improver E272e so sorry to that lady who said it not in hovis it’s often hidden and most people don’t know what damage this is doing to a already indangered species human activity/plam oil has killed of over 90% of the orangutans and I have no doubt we will kill of another 10% over time and when we really don’t even need to use plam oil at all, but hey at least there’s still a few orangutans left in the zoos right but like it said it so hard to avoid it’s in toothpastes, mouthwash, bars of soap even if it’s a drivititve like glycine it’s creeped it’s way into everything. Even in yeast as a rehydration agent aka Sorbitan Monostearate. So you have to dig deep and ask/email loads as in the case with bread some use liquid yeast some use yeast made from mollasses etc is a hard one never mind eating out as vaegan just because it says vegan doesn’t mean it really cruelty free and animals haven’t been affected which is the main idea isn’t it unless your doing it for reasons that aren’t ethical and most food on the go has plam oil in it! think any baked goods or sandwich labeled vegan but still may use plam oil. if only the industry catch on most vegans try and avoid plam oil as well as much as they can but it a very small number of us compared to meat eaters no judgment just my mouth my choice but defo a small market for palm free products just at the moment it’s cornerd by a niech online site/s trying to sell 250ml of shower gel for £20 so not in the price rang for most.

    In short it’s everywhere and impossible to avoid 100% sadly 🙁

  2. I have read all comments above , agree with them all. I also think with all this saturated fat,health problems are looming, but am I the only one who can’t stand the awful smell and taste of this stuff, hard to find anything to eat, even my animals are refusing,ready made stuff

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