At the start of October, we opened our doors to The Deforesters Arms which was a great success. Not only did we have an incredible time, but an important cause was highlighted - so we can’t thank everyone who joined us enough. The two-day event hosted by our orangutan ambassador, Pongo, was a truly unique experience. 

But in case you missed the action - here’s what went down.

Those that attended the pop-up were greeted with a complimentary drink on arrival from our resident animatronic orangutan, as well as some delicious and of course, palm oil free canapes. The event was topped off with a pub quiz with some brilliant prizes but also a serious message at the heart of it. 

Despite all the fun and games, the threat of deforestation is a serious one. Between 1990 and 2015, 24 million hectares of Indonesian rainforest was destroyed which for context, is an area the size of the UK. We simply cannot allow this destruction of this rate to continue. Which is where Meridian has come in. The latest figures show that there are only 100,000 Bornean orangutans left, so acting now is imperative to their survival. 

Although a third of Brits have said that deforestation is one of the most important environmental issues to them, our latest research reveals two thirds aren’t actively looking to avoid palm oil in their products. Not only have we (and others) shown that there is a viable alternative, we’ve also shown that the alternative can be just as tasty, if not tastier than their palm oil counterparts! 

While there is a level of responsibility that is with the consumer, we also recognised that businesses can and should be doing better. Our whole community hopes that the success of Pongo’s pop-up pub will help to instigate a new way of thinking when it comes to palm oil and spur decision-makers into seeking alternatives. 

Managing Director of Meridian Foods, Paul Fraser, commented:

“By opening the doors to The Deforesters Arms, we hope to show there are simple steps we can all take to help turn around the fate of the orangutan species. By choosing products that don’t contain palm oil, everyone will help reduce demand and deforestation, protecting orangutans like our ambassador, Pongo, in the process. 

“But really, the responsibility shouldn’t lie with consumers to reverse climate change. It’s time for businesses to stop using palm oil unnecessarily. So many products contain palm oil which simply don’t need it. In fact, they taste better without it.”

Pip Stewart, Meridian’s Anti-palm Oil Ambassador, added: 

“The UK’s Environment Bill hasn’t stopped products linked to deforestation in food chains. And one of COP26’s goals is to urgently adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. But how can we do this if we can’t even pass legislation here? 

“We need tougher targets for cutting carbon emissions and more cash to combat climate change. We need to make a business case for sustainability and brands need to clearly label what’s in their food to stop hiding palm oil in obscure names and E numbers.”

To find out more about how you can get involved with our #ProtectPongo campaign, make sure you follow our social media channel and #TheDeforestersArms for more information! 

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