17 Aug 2009

Cadbury does U-turn on palm oil

7:18 pm on 17 August 2009

Cadbury New Zealand has melted under consumer pressure and decided to remove palm oil from its recipe for dairy milk chocolate.

The announcement on Monday follows strong public reaction in June to the company's decision to replace some of the cocoa butter in its chocolate with vegetable fat, including palm oil.

Cadbury New Zealand managing director Matthew Oldham says it decided to use sustainably produced palm oil to make the chocolate softer and to reduce costs after the price of coca butter had doubled.

But within weeks, Cadbury received hundreds of letters and emails from consumers who did not approve of the new recipe.

At the time, Cadbury insisted there was no reduction in quality or taste and said the vegetable fat helped make the chocolate softer to bite, which was what consumers wanted.

However, Mr Oldham has apologised to consumers, saying the company got it wrong and is putting things right as soon as possible.

He says production using the cocoa butter-only recipe will start in the next few weeks.

Auckland Zoo earlier removed all Cadbury chocolate from its shop due to concerns the production of palm oil threatens the survival of orang-utans and Sumatran tigers.

The zoo says it is pleased at Cadbury's decision and will happily sell the chocolate again, free of palm oil.