Why Does Jam Sugar Contain Palm and Coconut Oil?

We bought gelling sugar 2:1 and afterwards we were appalled that the manufacturer of this product used palm oil and coconut oil for the production. Unfortunately we could not find an alternative product without palm or coconut oil.

Fat reduces foaming when cooking the jam. Palm oil (and more rarely coconut oil) is often used because it is solid at our room temperatures. If, for example, sunflower oil is used in the gelling sugar instead, it must first be industrially hardened.

Coconut oil has so far been less of a problem because coconut palms are mostly cultivated in smallholder structures and mixed cultures.

Unfortunately, the palm oil boom of the last few decades has led to an enormous destruction of the rainforest so that new oil palm plantations could be created. Therefore, many initiatives call for people to avoid products that contain palm oil. However, in its study “On the Oil Trail” (2016) , the WWF calculated that replacing palm oil with other fats would exacerbate the global environmental problem. The reason for this is that the production of all other oils and fats requires more space per unit of volume and produces higher greenhouse gas emissions than the production of palm oil.

From a sustainability point of view, it is therefore not advisable to simply replace palm oil with other oils or fats, but to limit the consumption of fats overall.

In our diet this means:

  • eat less chocolate, high-fat sweets and snacks,
  • prefer to cook yourself and pay attention to a low-fat preparation instead of using ready meals and
  • eat less meat and animal-based foods (because a significant proportion of palm oil imports go into animal feed).

Also consider that more than half of the 1.8 million tons of palm oil used in Germany each year is used for biodiesel. Therefore, driving restrictions is a particularly important starting point for reducing palm oil consumption.

In view of these amounts of palm oil, the jam sugar with its 0.2 percent palm oil does not pose a major problem. However, there are alternatives:

  • There is also jam sugar without palm oil, especially organic jam sugar, but also conventional products, or
  • cook jam without ready-made gelling sugar by using plain sugar and adding pectin or other gelling agent and a little lemon juice if necessary. If you do not want to use up the jam quickly, you should remove the foam with a slotted spoon and not put it in the jars.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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