Woolworths has been singled out by environmental campaigners over their use of palm oil in their hot cross buns this easter.
An image that is spreading virally around Facebook and other social media sites is warning consumers to stay clear of the Woolworths/Safeway product. The post, originally made by the Trees for Tommy page, spread virally generating 16,500 reshares, 1700 likes and 1200 comments.
The Trees for Tommy page states its purpose as “Raising awareness and funds for Orangutan conservation in Borneo, Indonesia.
”In addition, activist Amber Anile has created a “cheat sheet” of products that are safe to eat for Orangutans, using the moniker “The Orangutan Project”. Her post has been reshared over 3000 times, ensuring a wide reach.
It appears that Woolworths may be the victim of its own environmental promises on palm oil labelling including “On pack labelling of Palm Oil and derivatives (greater than 5% by weight) in all Woolworths private label products” despite the palm oil labelling bill being defeated in 2011.
A bill that would require all products with palm oil to be labelled was defeated in 2011.
The incident shows yet again that social media giving individual consumers a voice can very easily lead to a public relations headache, especially for larger companies looking to balance maintaining low cost, often private label, products with acceptable profit margins.