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KFCs Brand Masterstroke

There will be many who will be grateful to KFC for their decision to replace palm oil with Australian grown canola oil for frying poultry.

As reported by the Australian Financial Review on 14 May 2012 (page 9) Malaysian-sourced palm oil will be replaced with canola oil and Australian farmers will be asked to supply thousands of tonnes worth millions of dollars.

KFC say there are two reasons for the switch.  Even though KFC used palm oil that had been certified to be sustainable there are concerns about consumer perceptions about the sustainability of palm oil.  In addition, there are health benefits associated with the switch as canola oil is much lower in saturated fats.

This decision will tend to remove barriers to purchase of KFC products amongst people concerned about the environmental impacts of food production (more than 50% of consumers) and those who seek to avoid foods with high fat content (also more than 50% of consumers).

This decision will result in a reduction in demand for palm oil and send a clear message to Indonesia and Malaysia that some people do prefer forests to palm oil plantations.  It will also reduce the food miles in KFCs products.  

In addition, those consumers who seek to maximize Australian content will also be pleased.

There appears to be no downside to this decision as KFC are reported to have done extensive testing to ensure that the taste of its fried food will not change.

KFCs decision is all the more welcome after the disappointment of Food Standards Australia New Zealands failure to provide consumers with a basis for choice on food labels.

I hope that KFC will follow suit in other countries too.

Consumers and Australian farmers are winners from KFCs decision.  This decision will also benefit many species of animal and plant life which are endangered by expanding palm oil plantations.


Wild orangutan mother and child, Kutai National Park, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Photo by Charlie Nelson


Charlie Nelson
May 2012