Lidl’s Incoherence


Lidl own branded products sold in SWITZERLAND contain sustainable palm oil.

Lidl acknowledges that palm oil is a high-quality ingredient whose supply chain is subject to stringent safety checks, attesting its sustainability. By doing so, Lidl contributes to:

  • promoting environmental sustainability and biodiversity;
  • fostering economic growth and job creation in developing areas of the world;
  • protecting workers’ rights.

In ITALY and SPAIN Lidl has abandoned palm oil. What we think is the illegal claim of free from palm oil, is used to inform the consumers. We have shown that the claim free from palm oil discriminates a healthy ingredient and, above all, deceives consumers.

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Lidl SWITZERLAND uses palm oil because it is convenient, improves the quality of products and, above all, it is sustainable.

Why Lidl ITALY and SPAIN do not use sustainable palm oil? Lidl will not answer this question publicly. They are afraid. Perhaps, they will answer privately, as many do, arguing that in every market (fundamental principles of a 101 Marketing course) the product is adapted to the demands of the consumer. It is the famous fake-news of Barilla: we follow the consumer. Other companies follow quality first because that’s the key to bring in new customers. Different ways of interpreting business.

QUESTION I   Why (Italian and Spanish) consumers do not want palm oil? They think it is dangerous and contributes to deforestation by killing poor orangutans. We know it’s not like that. Until 2016, consumers ignored the existence of palm oil.

QUESTION II   Who told consumers that palm oil is dangerous for our health and the environment, deceiving and feeding them with fake news contradicting Science?

ANSWER    the same companies that have removed palm oil.

The BOICOTTAGE of palm oil is clearly the result of a purely cynical COMMERCIAL STRATEGY that uses false information, discriminates an ingredient and deceives consumers.

Sizeable supermarket chains like Coop and Barilla in Italy and Iceland in the United Kingdom, instead of improving the quality of their products in order to gain back lost consumers, chose the populist shortcut: demonizing palm oil.

These groups were major users of palm oil. Then, in 2016, they suddenly and inconsistently abandoned it claiming that it is harmful to consumers’ health and dangerous to the environment. Until 2016, they were arguing exactly the opposite. For Barillapalm oil is still today the most sustainable vegetable fat.

The absence of palm oil does not necessarily improve nutritional profiles of food products (and when it does, it is a ridiculous improvement) nor does it contribute to environmental sustainability.

Lidl SWITZERLAND informs consumers to use a sustainable ingredient that has a limited impact on the environment. With the “free from palm oil” claim Lidl ITALY ( and SPAIN) what does it want to communicate to the consumer? reduced saturated fats? If yes, by how much and how much does the consumer’s diet improve? Does it save the environment?

Lidl is free to answer. But please, do not give us the Marketing lesson.

For Free Choice aims to promote scientific information and method in public discourse. For Free Choice also defends consumers’ choice rights against the smear and demonizing campaigns which aim to confuse them and benefit specific interests.


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