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An Organic Oily Oasis in a Trans-Fat Jungle–Red Palm Oil Arrives

We love children, at least those who aren’t our own. And we especially love those who follow their parent’s passion for creating change. Add Ted Robb to a list that includes Nell Newman and two soapy generations of the Bronner family. Ted, son of Whole Foods bigwig Walter Robb (who opened his own store, with his then wife, way back in the stone age of natural foods) is behind Jungle Foods, a processor and importer of tropical oils.

Currently Jungle Foods offers certified extra virgin coconut oil and wild crafted extra virgin red palm oil, all of which are GMO and trans fat free. Jungle Foods is banking on the trend towards healthy oils as a key to its growth. The company’s coconut oil from the Philippines needs no explanation; however the red palm oil, from the West African nation of Togo is an oil we’ve never heard of before. According to the manufacturer, red palm oil is harvested from wild forest trees of the Dura Palms native to West African countries, and hand made in small batches by West African women. The oil is in its natural state and has not been refined in any way. It also contains high amounts of Vitamin E in the form of Tocotrienols and Tocopherols, and is a rich source of pro-Vitamin A in the form of carotenoids. Red Palm Oil contains no cholesterol and no trans fatty acids. Jungle Foods states that it is used as both a culinary and medicinal/topical oil and NBN used some red palm oil instead of canola recently while making his famous “San Juan style pinto beans.” We found the slight savory flavor proved a great addition to our much sought after (okay: only by our friends) recipe.

The company pays agricultural workers 2 to 4 times the average daily pay in those countries as part of its commitment to empower communities in developing. One other note of interest is that Jungle Foods C.O.O. is Scott Silverman, longtime keeper of the organic flame at New Hope. Scott, who once manufactured and distributed his own amazake in Boulder, brings a tremendous amount of passion, smarts and energy to his work. So far Jungle Foods has shown strong growth and, with the smarts of its founders and COO, we think that the next time you’re making one of your own favorite recipes you might be reaching for the red palm oil too.

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