Tesco – Fine purveyors of palm oil and plastic

I did an emergency run to Tesco this lunchtime as Andrew had been away all weekend so we hadn’t done the big shop.

Both kids are in an eating mood at the moment (some days they only want to eat half a baked bean between them) so I needed something for their packed lunches.

Trying to find something in Tesco without palm oil in it or that isn’t wrapped in plastic is like taking part in a Supermarket Sweep challenge. I had all the panicky enthusiasm of a contestant as I raced round examining labels but without a trolly full of stuff at the end.

I’d say 85% of the veggies in Tesco were wrapped in plastic. From cucumbers to carrots and broccoli – so many vegetables were trapped in tiny plastic prisons I was worried that this plastic-free shop would mean dining on garlic bulbs and ginger.

After much searching I did get a few veggies and a bit of salad but bought four potatoes in plastic packaging. There weren’t any potatoes not wrapped in plastic. Potatoes are sturdy, they are so hard they were probably used as weapons in medieval times. So why do Tesco think they’re so dainty they need to be wrapped in plastic?

Plastic wrapped vegetables
Not a fan-plastic shop

Andrew wanted lunch so I got him a Wicked Kitchen wrap. Wicked Kitchen is Tesco’s take on an ‘it’s ok to be vegan, you’re not weird’ range. Making plant-based eating cool is a great idea but this range isn’t without its faults.

I know just because food is vegan doesn’t automatically make it ethical (pretty sure the fact it’s for sale in this behemoth supermarket negates all ethics) but I personally think if you’re going to make a vegan range, then make it as sustainable as you can.

The wraps come in a paper bag that, according to the packaging, can’t be recycled. The wraps are also nestled in a plastic tray. If they did away with the fancy bag and went for cardboard packaging surely they’d be able to ditch the plastic?

Plastic sandwich container
Fancy wrap in its fancy plastic wrapping

Ok the plastic can be recycled, but how many people are going to bother to do that when they’re grabbing a quick lunch on the go?

The wraps also contain the ever-present, ever-guilt inducing perma ingredient palm oil. Seriously, how are there any rain forests left at all? This stuff is in everything! It doesn’t say it’s sustainable, but as we already know, there’s no such thing as sustainable palm oil, so it wouldn’t matter if it did.

Palm oil wrap
Hello palm oil my old friend, it seems I’m eating you again

I also took on the challenge of finding palm oil free bread in Tesco and all I came out with was five bagels. A depressing but not at all unexpected result.

I’ve emailed Tesco about their abundance of plastic and palm oil so let’s see what they fob me off with when they reply.


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