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A Letter to … Arnott’s Australia

This is the big one!! Arnotts makes the products that I had the hardest time giving up, including my beloved Mint Slice, so I really hope that they not only get back to me, but they have some good new for me, too! If you would like to send a letter to Arnotts, that would be great! You can do so by leaving them feedback here, or send them a more formal hard copy letter! We might not be able to make them good for our health, but together we can try to make them better for the world!

To Whom It May Concern

Hello! My name is Tegan Webb, and I am contacting you, the makers of many of my favorite biscuits, including Tim Tams, Caramel Crowns, Royals, and Mint Slice, to not only commend you on a delicious products, but I was hoping you could answer a couple of my questions regarding this particular product.

I have recently embarked on a personal quest, of sorts, to only buy products that contain sustainably sourced palm oil, for ethical reasons. As I’m sure you would have heard, palm oil plantations are the major course of deforestation in many parts of South East Asia, and as an animal lover this concerns me a lot. I did notice that they contain Vegetable Oils and or Fats, and as palm oil is not required to be labelled I wanted to ask you if this palm oil sustainably sourced in accordance with the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil Criteria and, if not, would you ever consider switching to the use of sustainable palm oil?

Thankyou again for your fabulous food products, and I really hope the answer to my questions is yes, because I don’t want to have to give them up!

Thankyou for your time, I hope to hear from you soon! You can contact me at my email or at the address provided above.

Yours Sincerely

Tegan Elizabeth Webb


Pantry Raid! The First Assault

The Unusual Suspects

In order to properly weed out the palm oil from my diet, I took to the pantry this week, in search of the elusive palm oil. Because I’m still living at home and thus do not control what is bought at the weekly supermarket shop, I asked my dear mother why she bought the products that she did. After some confusion and wariness to my intentions (I had in past asked her to stop buying Nestle products, to no avail), she came up with two reasons.

I know that I like them
They were cheap/on special.

These are both very reasonable responses, and I’d imagine also very common ones. It is clear that most supermarket shoppers love a bargain, myself included, and both supermarket chains have picked up on that, offering a plethora of special deals on popular products every week, not so much to please us as to make sure they’re outdoing each other.

With this in mind, I pulled out all the products that a) had made it onto my list of products containing crude unsustainable palm oil, and b) had vegetable oil listed in the ingredients.
Here’s what I found!

Coles Corn chips

Status: Banned
I love my corn chips. Nachos are one of my favourite foods. Give me some salsa or some avocado dip and I could go through this entire packet in one afternoon. But before I do,  let’s have a look at the ingredients.


Well done Coles, you’ve made it super obvious that there’s palm oil in this one! Palmoelin! It’s Palm Oil with a few extra letters!

Sorry Coles brand Corn Chips, it’s been swell, but now we must part.

Greens – Sticky Date Sponge Pudding.

Status: Unknown
Yum! But the ingredients listing says

So…is it palm oil, or not?!
I searched around on the internet, but could find no straight answers, so I have decided to write a letter to Greens, asking it to tell it to me straight: are you using palm oil, and is that palm oil sustainable. Until then, no sticky date pudding for me, at least not from this packet. Damn.

 Kraft Peanut Butter

Vegetable Oils
Status: Banned.
I love my Peanut Butter, yet this is not a heavy blow as I first thought, because both Dick Smith and Sanitarium have provided Palm Oil free alternatives. Sorry Kraft, you’ll have to clean up your act to steal my heart away from these guys.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese (?)
Status: Banned
Now this is a difficult one. I love cream cheese, especially Philadelphia cream cheese. It stood out as a big no no on various lists that I cross referenced ,and this is what the ingredients read

Locust Bean Gum (what is that?)
Starter Culture
35% Milk Solids

Nothing. Not even a Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye. Is it in the Starter Culture? The Milk Solids? The Locust Bean Gum? What is Locust Bean Gum, anyway? And does this mean that there’s a whole bunch of foods in my pantry that I’ve missed completely because it’s so unclear as to what is actually in them?
Another perfect example for legislative change, I think. Looks like I’ll be writing another email.


Vegetable Oil
Status: Allowed: Not Palm Oil

Hooray! This is the first one that has been confirmed not to contain palm oil at all! Too bad I can’t put Philly on them anymore, though.

Rice Puffs

Vegetable Oil
Status: Unknown
I had one of these the other day, and I’m really not a fan. However, I’m still going to investigate as to where this vegetable oil is coming from.

Be Natural Trail Bars

Vegetable Oil
Status: Unknown
Although Be Natural Cereals contain no palm oil at all, nothing is said about their trail bars.

It’s great to see that Be Natural are getting involved with environmental organisations like Landcare, I just hope that they come back clean on the palm oil front too.

Woothworths Select Choc Honeycomb Hard Tops

Vegetable Oils
Status: Allowed

It’s almost as good as Ice Magic! Although Coles brands have been rejected for their use of Palm Oil, their main competitors, Woolworths, are choosing to back CSPO! Hooray! I know whose side I’ll be on for the supermarket war.

Damora Rice Crackers: Seaweed (These were eaten before I could get a photo)
Vegetable Oil
Status: Allowed.

Fantastic Rice Crackers: Original Flavour

Vegetable Oil
Status: Allowed

Trident Rice Crackers: Plain
Vegetable Oil
Status: Banned

I thought it quite hilarious that we have three different brands of rice crackers in our pantry. At least I can eat two of them. Now to find some palm oil free dip…

The Pancake Parlour: Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Vegetable Oil
Status: Unknown
This is a particularly sad one for me, as I am yet to find a supermarket pancake mix that is as good as this. Fingers crossed that the results come back positive.

Praise Caesar Salad Croutons

Vegetable Oil
Status: Allowed (CSPO)
Excellent! Although croutons are not essential to my diet, I do quite enjoy them and look forward to continuing to do so when I don’t have time to make my own!

Continental Cup A Soup
Status: Allowed! Although I much prefer real soup.

Classic Cream of Chicken
Creamer (Vegetable Oil)
Beverage Whitener (palm oil)
Lotsa Noodles Cream of Chicken
Creamer (Vegetable Oil)

What on earth is beverage whitener? Although I do enjoy a cup a soup from time to time, nothing beats real and homemade!

Mighty Soft: Thick and Fruity Café Style Raisin Toast

Vegetable Oil

Status: Unknown
Not sure about this one, could not find any straight answers as to whether Mighty Soft uses palm oil in the breads. Another email to my long list.

Pringles: Original

Vegetable Oil
Status: Allowed (CSPO)

Pringles! I love Pringles. Not only are the addictively delicious, they’re also completely vegan! Who would have known?
Pringles are owned by Procter and Gamble, and I was super happy to find they fell into the ‘Switching to CSPO’ category. Hooray! The Pringles can stay.

Arnott’s Caramel Crowns

Vegetable Oil
Status: Banned

Another delicious Arnott’s sweet treat that I must bid a hopefully temporary farewell.


And finally.

Arnotts Mint Slice

Vegetable Oil
Status: Banned
Goodnight, sweet prince.

This is just a snap shot of what is coming and going through our pantry each week; who knows what kinds of tasty treats might arrive next? It’s made me realise that not only will I have to stop buying these products myself; I will also have to keep myself from being tempted to eat these kinds of things when I open the pantry.

Stay tuned! In my next post, I’ll be writing about some of the products I found to replace these. I don’t want to give anything away, but there will be baking involved! Hooray!

How my addiction to Arnott’s could be destroying the planet.

How my addiction to Arnott’s could be destroying the planet.

And other reasons I’m feeling guilty about gorging on Tim Tams

I’m sure a lot of you have been in this situation before; you open the cupboard, looking for that healthy afternoon snack to go with your cup of tea, only to find a full packet of Tim Tams just sitting there. You don’t know how they got there;  they could be your mother’s, your sister’s, or your housemates. They haven’t even been opened yet.
You look over your shoulder, checking to see whether the owner of said Tim Tams is around, before picking up the packet. There’s no sign of any note, saying ‘Please Do Not Eat! These are for my How To Host A Murder Party.’ They must be meant for everyone.
And before you know it, you’re two thirds through the packet, and you’re feeling sick from the gorging and the shame. You wipe the chocolate from your lips, and shake the crumbs off your jacket before heading out to Woolworths for a replacement packet. No one will ever know.

We all have our vices. Yours might be Tim Tams, or Royals, Caramel Crowns, or Iced VoVos. Or it might not even be chocolate biscuit related. Mine is Arnott’s Mint Slice.

Until recently, the only regret I felt about doing something like this with a packet of Mint Slice was for the icky feeling in my gut from consuming all that chocolate, and the shame of having to explain where the all but two remaining biscuits have got to. I did not realise that there are ethical issues tied to popular consumer brands, such as Arnott’s, that are much bigger than me.

Oh, Tim Tam’s, why do you tease me so?

The issue that stood out the most for me, however, was the rampant use of unsustainable palm oil in many pre-packaged supermarket products, many of which I had been eating since I could independently shovel food into my mouth. The thought of how many countless animals, including flagship species such as the Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger, die each DAY because of my addiction to chocolate biscuits has added another even more sever regret to my list.

So from the 1st the 31st of June, I’m giving up all products that I either know, or suspect have unsustainably harvested palm oil in them, in protest of the devastating deforestation of South East Asian rainforests and its consequential impacts on biodiversity. I will be writing about my experiences, what I learn and how I cope along the way, to share with you, dear reader, and to prove that you don’t have to stop shaving, showering or convert your wardrobe to solely hemp based garments to join the ranks of the eco warrior (although if you have opted for this kind of approach already, I whole heartedly salute you). As much as I would like to, I cannot physically defend my dear orang-utan friends (an animal that I am often compared to because of the colour of my hair), but like nearly every opinionated twenty something, I have a blog, and the determination to see this through to the end. And hopefully beyond…

Don’t give me that face