Sustainable palm oil and organic frying butter
Mifa AG is expanding its range of eco-friendly-production foods with sustainable palm oil and organic frying butter.
As of 2015 Mifa AG will also be manufacturing organic quality Swiss frying butter for Migros. This supports Swiss organic farmers.
The milk for organic frying butter comes from Swiss cows, so Mifa AG is supporting organic agriculture in Switzerland.
Whether it is for a major consumer or small household: 100% of the palm oil for all food produced by Mifa AG comes from sustainable farming (RSPO “SG”).
Oil palms are mostly cultivated on large plantations in the tropics. Palm oil and palm kernel oil are extracted from oil palm fruit. Mifa AG processes these valuable raw materials for use in foodstuffs, laundry and household detergents.
Dirk Zwanzig, head of Mibelle Group Nutrition R&D, testing a product sample in the laboratory together with Monika Zaugg and Peter Guckenberger.
Mifa AG processes three thousand tonnes of palm oil per year. It is a basic raw material (commodity) for many different foods. Almost one in every two supermarket products contains an ingredient derived from the oil palm. Three thousand tonnes: what initially sounds like a massive number is in fact comparatively small; in Europe alone, an estimated six million tonnes of palm oil are processed per year, so Mifa AG’s proportion represents just 0,5 thousandth. For comparison, the worldwide palm oil production is estimated at 60 million tonnes (2014).
These figures show that Mifa AG alone does not purchase enough palm oil to affect global palm oil production. Greater sustainability in the palm oil industry is important, however, because cultivation and sharp rises in global demand cause significant ecological and social harm in the countries where oil palms are grown. This is exacerbated by the fact that the company cannot switch to palm-free raw materials. Dirk Zwanzig, head of Nutrition Research and Development, explains the situation:
“The positive, structural properties of palm oil are very important for our products. Palm oil’s crystallization properties for example, give margarine structure and firmness. We need a very precise consistency in products for professional use, such as bakery margarines. Usually there is no substitute for this, not even in the relatively small quantities we use. The substitute raw materials, such as other exotic fats and oils, or hydrogenated fats, are all similar in terms of the problems they present or are not acceptable to customers.”
Palm oil is therefore indispensable to Mifa AG, so what can Mifa do?
Zwanzig says: “On our own, we don’t have enough leverage on the market to effect global change, but we want to set a good example and have invested a lot of effort into converting the whole range. By 2014, we had reached the point where all the recipes had been converted to sustainable palm oil. Use of this palm oil in our bakery margarine gave us an advantage as it allows supermarket and bakery customers to offer their product ranges using sustainable palm oil. Mifa AG is adhering to Migros’ strict standards by using RSPO-certified palm oil. The RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) is a group of companies and organisations that have joined forces to work together for a more environmentally and socially-conscious palm oil industry. RSPO-certified palm oil meets various minimum requirements (ecological, ethical, social and legal) and for Mifa AG it is also “segregated”. This means that 100% of the oil comes from RSPO-certified plantations and is stored and transported separately from conventional palm oil throughout the supply chain. There is no blending; the sustainable palm oil goes straight into the customer’s product.
The growing importance of sustainability is also apparent in other product groups. As of 2015, Mifa AG has been manufacturing organic quality Swiss frying butter for Migros. “Of course, the quantities are not comparable with palm oil. However, here, too we are making a conscious contribution, so that Migros can expand its organic range”, says Zwanzig. Customers now have a choice between ordinary and organic frying butter.
Sustainability facts about Mifa AG foods:
- 100% of the palm oil used in food is sustainably grown according to the RSPO segregation standard (SG). Mifa AG is thereby supporting the Generation M promise (Migros’ sustainability programme) to use only sustainably grown palm oil by 2015.
- In addition to the RSPO audits, the plantations that supply palm oil for Mifa AG production are also monitored by The Forest Trust.
- By introducing organic frying butter, Mifa AG is fulfilling the Generation M promise (Migros’ sustainability programme) to extend the organic range by 2015, thus safeguarding the existence of another 300 organic farmers.
For further information about the use of palm oil by our parent company Migros, please visit
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