Meridian partners with IAR to protect orangutans in Borneo alongside launch of Gingernut Butter

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Meridian has pledged to donate 25p per jar of Gingernut Butter sold to International Animal Rescue. Pic: Meridian Foods
Meridian has pledged to donate 25p per jar of Gingernut Butter sold to International Animal Rescue. Pic: Meridian Foods

Related tags Meridian Foods nut butters deforestation orangutans Palm oil International Animal Rescue

Meridian Foods has committed to donate 25p per jar of its new Gingernut Butter to International Animal Rescue (IAR) to further highlight the devastating impact of deforestation.

Meridian’s pledge will go a long way in helping the UK-based conservation charity​ to plant and protect 50,000 trees in Borneo, which play home to the fewer than 100,000 orangutans left in the region, placing them on the critically endangered list.

Between 1990 and 2014, an estimated 24 million hectares of rainforest – an area the size of the UK – was destroyed in Indonesia due to deforestation and forest fires in the quest to answer world demand for palm oil.

Global demand for the ingredient, along with timber, pulp and paper production, drives deforestation with little thought given to wildlife habitats. Clearing forests also produces greenhouse gas emissions and, with fewer trees, less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere.

Can no longer be ignored

The launch of the new butter variant came as IAR rescued another baby orangutan found hidden in a small wooden crate in Ketapang, West Borneo. Named Covita, the infant had been kept as a pet, barely kept alive on an unsuitable diet.

IAR stressed the most dangerous place for wildlife is in the hands of human beings.

“That is a lesson we can no longer afford to ignore,”​ said Alan Knight OBE, CEO of IAR.

“As a result of deforestation, orangutans are forced out of their forest homes and sadly many succumb to starvation without adequate food and water supplies. As the orangutans encounter humans, this causes human-orangutan conflict.”

He added the situation needs urgent action.

“Saying orangutans are critically endangered is an understatement. They are on the path to extinction, as their habitat continues to be destroyed.”

At its heart

Meridian Foods has added a Gingernut Butter to its burgeoning portfolio of nut butters, purportedly the UK’s widest range of nut butters. According to Nielsen data, it is one of the fastest-growing food brands in the UK, growing by 10% year on year.

At the heart of its butters is just one ingredient – nuts – and processing is kept to a minimum. Meridian was also the first nut butter brand in the world to be certified palm-oil free by the International Pal Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP).

Earlier this year, the company hosted a two-week campaign using portraits by British painter and sculptor Louis Masai of orangutans interacting with the threats they face, from deforestation to palm oil production and potentially even COVID-19.

The murals  appeared in major cities across the UK, emblazoned with the message #ProtectPongo.

The Gingernut Butter is available from Meridian’s online shop for an RRP of £2.29 for a 170g jar.

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