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Ten products and ingredients that come from tropical forests

Places like the Amazon are much more than simply beautiful, far-off tropical rainforests. They are also a source of everyday items we rely on. Do you recognise these familiar products and ingredients?

Fermenting cacao seeds


Did you know that your favourite chocolate originates from the cacao plant? This grows wild in Central and South America and cultivating it can be a forest-friendly source of income for people who live in the Amazon.


Next time you lather on your moisturiser take a look at the ingredients. Lots of Amazonian plants – like Brazil nut and coconut oil – work wonders on your skin!


Not only do ingredients in Amazonian plants make us smell nice, they can save lives too. 70% of the plants that have proven anti-cancer properties are only found in tropical rainforests.


Did you know that your packet of dry roasted cashew nuts originated in the Brazilian tropics and the Brazil nut is found not just in Brazil, but also other parts of the Amazon including Peru and Bolivia. 


You can thank the Amazon for your luscious locks! Lots of ingredients found in shampoo, like the citrus fruit, are grown in rainforests too.

Vanilla seed pods

Vanilla is used in lots of our favourite foods and cosmetics because it tastes and smells so good! And you guessed it; the vanilla orchid, which produces these powerful little vanilla pods, grows in rainforests too.


We all need a caffeine fix from time to time. And did you know that shade-grown coffee can help local people earn a living while keeping the rainforest standing?

Bananas and avocados, which are grown near the Virunga National Park

Avocado and bananas

Most of us won’t have visited a rainforest but a large part of our diet either originates from or is grown there – including foods such as avocados, coconuts, grapefruit, bananas, guavas and pineapples to name but few.

Spices – Cinnamon and Pepper

You’ll recognise both of these from your spice rack. No matter what kind of cuisine you’re in the mood for, chances are it will be seasoned with spices that originated in our rainforests.

Açaí berries

Heralded as the super fruit of superfoods, açaí is already a massive health food hit. The açaí palm tree grows naturally in the Amazon rainforest and its berries, rich in protein and minerals, can be harvested without harming the forest or the species that live there.

Causing harm to the rainforest

Tropical forests might seem like very faraway places, but they affect us all.

Unfortunately, some products are grown in a way that causes harm to the rainforest and the people and animals that live there. You can make sure you’re making a positive impact by choosing products that contain one or more of the following labels:

  • Fairtrade
  • Organic
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
  • RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)