Eaglehawk embraces the first store of its kind in Australia
Eaglehawk residents may have noticed a new business that appeared in the main shopping strip during the pandemic mid-September this year. Palm Oil Investigations (POI) is a one-stop-shop where you can buy products free from palm oil.
The business was started in response to many people asking for palm oil free products that are not readily available or are hard to find. POI eco store is owned by Lorinda Jane (a local Eaglehawk resident), and staff consists of her daughter and mother. What is palm oil? Food Standards Australia and New Zealand describe palm oil as a “vegetable fat obtained from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. Palm oil contains a high proportion of saturated fat. This is unusual as most vegetable fats do not contain high proportions of saturated fats; however there are exceptions such as palm oil and coconut oil”.
Around 50% of everyday supermarket products have palm oil in them, only, we don’t know it. This is because palm oil is rarely labelled as palm oil on the packaging, often being labelled as vegetable oil. Palm oil is used in everything. Every single person would have palm oil products in their house: dish washing liquid, shampoo, conditioner, spray and wipes, laundry softeners and liquids, biscuits, all cleaning products, cosmetics and skin care. It is used for cooking right through to cleaning because of its high carbon chain allowing it to be made into a multitude of ingredients.
What is the problem with palm oil?
Palm oil only grows in South East Asia twenty degrees above and twenty degrees below the equator belt along the eco system of the tropical rainforest which is the lungs of the earth. This is the most biodiverse part of the world. It’s the only place where orangutans exist in the wild, also Sumatran rhinos, tigers, elephants and plenty of other plant species. These animals don’t exist anywhere else in the world. They rely on the forest and habitat for survival and these forests are being decimated as a result of palm oil production.
The animals’ habitat has been lost and many species are dying out. To the producers of palm oil, these species are classed as pests so the majority of the animals are being killed – its wiping them out and they will soon be extinct.
“We have not only knocked out the palm oil – we’ve done all the hard work for the consumers to make sure there’s no palm oil in the products. We’ve also removed single use plastic. And we’re the first to do that because there’s stores that have no palm oil but everything’s packed in plastic, or there’s no plastic but a lot of the products have palm oil”.
“I’m very game opening a store in the middle of a pandemic. My online store had been extremely busy which I launched only 6 months ago when other retailers were closing their doors due to the onset of the pandemic. And of course everyone’s moved to online shopping”.
As online became exceptionally busy, storage of stock was becoming a problem with limited space available in her home office. Lorinda decided to look for storage space where online orders could be processed. 58 High St. became available die to the travel agent closing their doors and the building was also perfect for a retail shop front.
The response has been amazing and people have been coming from all over Bendigo. Lorinda wasn’t sure how the new store would go because it is quite different. However, the locals are loving it and nearly every person that comes in has been referred.
The Palm Oil Movement
Lorinda started the palm oil movement in Australia about eight years ago. It aims to educate and inform consumers about the substance that is used in many everyday products by identifying which products do and don’t contain palm oil.
Palm Oil Investigations supports small business, Australian manufacturing, charities and fair trade. It’s definitely something different – there’s nothing else like this in the region.
You can shop on the Facebook page or browse the shop at 58 High St .Eaglehawk
Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm Saturday 9am to 2pm