Saturday 20 October 2018

E471 - the hidden palm oil in peanut butter

As a treat and as a change from all the jam I make, we do like the odd jar of peanut butter yet trying to find some we are happy to buy has been an interesting journey.

First of all so many varieties are sold in plastic jars - no thank you.

Then a read of the ingredients shows many contain palm oil.  No thanks again.

Enter Sun-Pat peanut butter.  Glass jar (albeit with a plastic lid) and no palm oil.  Happy enough with that, or so I thought. On Instagram @BusyGreenMum posted a picture recently saying she hoped she had finally found a peanut butter that was palm oil free and she hoped it wasn't hiding under an E number or something.  The ingredient list she also posted showed it contained E471: 

E471 is a synthetic fat, produced mainly from plant origins but in some cases also from animal fats.  The most commonly used fat/oil to make E471 is palm oil.

Sun-Pat peanut butter contains palm oil - hidden in the additive E471

I contacted Sun-Pat and they confirmed that the E471 in their peanut butter is made from palm oil which would explain why there is no "Palm Oil Free" label on their jars of peanut butter. 

I asked both on Twitter and on this blog if people knew what E471 was made from and almost everyone said they did not.

So whilst Sun-Pat does not proclaim on their jars to be palm oil free they don't make it clear either that their peanut butter does contain palm oil.  I asked them on their Facebook page why they used E471 made from palm oil and also asked if they had any plans to use E471 that did not contain it. They initially did not reply so I asked again to which they said they had no plans to stop using E471 made from palm oil.  

Contacting businesses to tell them you are unhappy about their product and/or that you have stopped buying it and explaining why needs to be something more people to do ensuring businesses are made aware that the public increasingly do not want environment damaging products and are boycotting them.  You could add your own commetns to the Sun-Pat Facebook page or add comments to what I wrote:

Link to my original comment asking about E471.
Link to my comment saying I will not now be buying Sun-Pat peanut butter. 

Sun-Pat is now another brand of peanut butter that is no longer on my shopping list (and one of the few I could buy in France) so I am now left with 2 options.  I can either ask friends who visit to track down some peanut butter made with 100% peanuts and in a glass jar (and ideally organic) ... which, to be honest, is a bit of an ask ... or I can make my own.

Anyone have a good home-made peanut butter recipe?  

The food additive E471 is most commonly made from palm oil


  1. Palm oil was the main topic of conversation at our last local environment group meeting. I'm not sure you can buy peanut butter that doesn't have it in. I certainly haven't come across any yet.

    Someone was sharing a homemade peanut butter recipe recently but I can't remember where I saw it. If I come across it I'll send you the link.

    Have you seen this petition on palm oil? - I've signed it :)


    1. In the UK we have a company called Meridian that makes peanut butter with 100% ONLY peanuts.

  2. I've stopped buying peanut butter altogether, used to get it for adding to dog treats but since they introduced xylitol into their product i've stopped giving all brands to Bob as it can kill dogs. Interesting to learn how they hide use of palm oil by labelling it as an e number #goigngreen

  3. carla@ouramanahsourfutures5 November 2018 at 23:14

    Its so scary all the hidden ingredients in our food. This is why I try and make everything from scratch.Thanks for making me aware of this E number.

  4. It is something I did know about. Unfortunately the glass jar plus no palm oil thing is a hard ask. Wholefoods do one, but it costs £9 a jar and we go through a jar a week because it's a good source of protein on toast and my kids will eat it happily when they need a snack. I have tried making my own, and it never works really. I would love to buy a non palm oil, low sugar version, and be able to use it. Palm oil is cheap and easy to use, companies don't want to give that up, no matter the damage they do to make it...


  5. I loved your Blog for my Earth Day Activities for kids with family, I'm going to Follow Your Post for my Trip on Earth day. You are an amazing nature loving Person.

  6. Aldi now sell a 100% peanut butter in glass jars. It's affordable too!


  8. I think every time E471 is listen in a product then you have to assume it's the dreaded Palm Oil. trying to get a straight answer from companies seems really difficult as they often side-step the subject. I recently contacted Mars to ask about the E471 in their products and they wouldn't answer my direct question about palm-oil, instead they fobbed me off with 'plant-based'.

  9. Does anyone know if E471 made from palm oil contains Palmitic Acid as I recently
    read a study indicating it can accelerate Cancer so I am looking to avoid it


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