I recently bought a couple of containers of pineapple juice from one of Australia’s largest juice producers. Proudly proclaiming on its website that:
With 50% less sugar than regular juice, it’s one less thing to worry about. The NEW Berri Healthy Balance range has been developed in response to consumers’ growing concerns about obesity and children’s diets, particularly with regards to sugar and calories.
The NEW Berri Healthy Balance range has half the sugar of regular juice and is made with 50% real fruit juice.
The range provides consumers with an alternate beverage choice, with 50% less sugar than regular juice, but still the terrific taste that you would expect from Berri.
Upon discovering that the taste was not as terrific as I had expected (or had been promised), I looked at the ingredients:
Palm oil. In what I had thought was pineapple juice (but discovered was only ‘pineapple fruit drink’ due to the content - or lack thereof - of pineapple juice). In the name of supposedly making fruit juice healthier, palm oil had been used. Palm oil that most likely comes from Indonesia or Malaysia, home to between 80% and 90% of the world’s palm oil production. Indonesia is the 3rd largest greenhouse gas producer - primarily due to the massive deforestation that is taking place throughout the country - much created in the establishment of palm oil plantations. Malaysia’s undisturbed rainforest is shrinking as well.
Not exactly what I’d call a healthy balance. More likely a healthy balance sheet. After all, cheap imported palm oil and water is more cost effective than pineapple juice.Not that I’m cynical about this, of course. Australians apparently consume, on average, around 10kg of palm oil a year. If not in the name of reducing costs, why else (and, no, I don’t accept that it is necessary as a source of Vitamin E)? I had always been of the opinion that childhood obesity was caused by other factors such as a lack of exercise and the excessive consumption of junk food, rather than the sugars contained in fruit juice. Clearly I must have been quite mistaken…
For further information, take a look at this brochure from Palm Oil Action Australia, whose website contains even more detailed information about the impact of palm oil. Sure, the site may hardly mention tapirs, but remember that orangutans also live where Asian Tapirs do. Less orangutan habitat means less habitat for tapirs.