Is margarine vegan in 2021?
The answer to the question is a mixed one. “Yes and No”. Both vegan and non-vegan type of margarine spreads is available in the market. To confirm, if it is vegan or not, read the ingredients and compare them with the list provided below, if matched then that margarine is not vegan.
Moreover, just because some margarine is vegan doesn’t mean they are healthy too. Also, confirm that they should not have trans fats.
Here is a tip: Start by looking at soft, non-hydrogenated margarine. Choose one labeled “low in saturated fat” and “trans-fat-free”
There are healthier options available for both such as vegetable oil spreads and using olive oil to dip your bread instead.
Derived from the Greek word for pearls i.e., margarite, margarine has gradually established itself as a staple in almost every household around the world.
A famous spread for bread.
Originally made in 1869 by Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès, as a cheaper substitute for butter but has now emerged as a product with a very big market.
This emergence of margarine, however, was very slow.
The dairy industry tried its best to stop a potential competitor industry from rising, but as time went on, its popularity started to grow as people started using it in times of war when butter supply was low.
Not only then but now there is a continuously increasing demand for vegan margarine. See the Google trend snippet below:-
The introduction of new production processes including hydrogenation has made modern margarine a direct competitor of butter as these two staples are like what two close substitutes would be i.e., similar in taste and appearance.
The difference between these two substitutes is the fact that butter usually contains saturated fats on account of being made of animal fat while margarine contains unsaturated fat, due to it being mostly from plant fats.
This affords margarine the advantage of reducing the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a type of cholesterol deemed dangerous for the body by health professionals.
Margarine and veganism:
Like every other staple in the world, there has been an increased focus and talks about whether margarine is suitable for vegans or not.
For those who don’t know, vegan is the practice of abstaining from using any animal-derived products.
The answer to this question is not a clear one, the reason being that while modern margarine mostly consists of plant fats, these can sometimes use additives or ingredients which may not be animal-derived but are still frowned upon by the vegan community.
Hence we will first analyze the general ingredients used in making all types of margarine followed by the different types of margarine prevalent today.
Ingredients that makes Margarine Non-vegan
Following are the ingredients which are to be looked at while purchasing. These ingredients are not considered vegan or cruelty-free by the community.
Used in the production of a myriad of edible products, palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is extracted from the fruit of palm oil trees.
Palm oil is plant-based but the production process is considered cruel in nature as it adversely impacts the environment and animal habitats. Read here for more.
As can be deduced from the name, buttermilk is a type of milk-based product that is used in margarine to bring the dairy sensation and richness of butter.
Whey is another milk-derived product that is used in trace quantities to aid in the production processes relating to margarine.
Another milk-derived product, lactose is a milk sugar used as a stabilizer and often added in the form of whey.
Lecithin is a type of emulsifier used in aiding the mixing of different liquids and can be made from both animal and plant sources.
A common food fortification, vitamin D is added to margarine to increase the nutritional value of the product
So, is margarine vegan?
As stated above there is no clear-cut answer.
Most modern margarine is devoid of any animal products, making them suitable for the vegan lifestyle.
However, some modern brands also use animal products like whey and milk, and hence it is imperative that the ingredient list of the brand being purchased is read thoroughly.
Classical margarine, on the other hand, maintains its original taste by combining more vegetable fats and animal fats, for those who still love the original margarine.
Good thing for vegans, these companies have started putting out vegan margarine too, but you may want to avoid those if you are not in for the actions of the company.
This is something for which every brand has to be looked upon manually by you while purchasing.
In the coming sections, I have provided a list of some of the brands which can be considered vegan.
Hence margarine claiming to be made out of vegan fat doesn’t need to be vegan friendly.
It is better to use those that specifically claim to be vegan friendly, which is relatively easy with the tremendous support for vegan-based products and the presence of many such vegan-based kinds of margarine and substitutes for it, some of which we will highlight below.
All of these are much safer options if you’re a vegan.
Is margarine healthy for you?
Yes, I know this is off topic but it’s important to shed some light on this area.
I think eating something just because it is vegan doesn’t guarantee health.
Earlier in the days, margarine as a substitute for butter was considered totally healthy due to its high content of unsaturated fats.
But, unsaturated fats have a lower melting point i.e. they melt at lower temperatures, so it made the natural state of margarine less solid like vegetable oil.
So to get the consistency of the butter, a hydrogenation process was used that increased margarine’s trans fat content.
Trans fats are not good for health. They reduce good cholesterol and increases bad cholesterol which increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
But, nowadays many margarine companies are claiming to be Tran fats-free and some are actually.
In the coming section, I have mentioned some of the companies that provide vegan as well as trans-fat-free margarine.
Before that, you should know the types of margarine and their health impacts.
Three types of margarine
With a texture similar to original butter, stick margarine offers the consistency and texture of butter and is also the best type of margarine for cooking.
This type of margarine may contain slightly fewer calories than butter, but most products of the sort contain high amounts of trans fats, which is bad for the body as it increases LDL, a type of bad cholesterol in our body.
While containing a higher amount of water than the other types, light margarine is hence less caloric in nature.
These also carry the added benefit of having lower amounts of trans fats in them.
However, although being less caloric, it still may contain hydrogenated oils.
Margarine with phytosterols
As can be deduced from the name, this type of margarine contains plant compounds called phytosterols, which are similar in nature to cholesterol.
These compete with cholesterol for absorption in the body and hence have the ability to lower the cholesterol level of an individual.
Vegan and trans fat free margarines
Healthwise absolutely the top-of-the-line product, this margarine spread does not contain any trans-fat and is made up of completely vegan ingredients.
This margarine is perfect for every individual; for someone who uses margarine on toast or someone who uses it in cooking.
100% non-dairy and vegan, this product is made up of simple and real ingredients while also providing the taste which can be summaries by the name of the product.
It comes with a lot of benefits, some of which is the fact that it includes good omega fats, 0 trans fats, and 40% fewer calories.
Made with completely vegan ingredients, this spread provides the taste of traditional margarine while also infusing taste with a hint of olive oil i.e., a new flavor for all the foodies out there.
This 15 oz. container is free of trans fat and unhealthy fats.
Miyoko’s best-selling product, this vegan-based spread provides the taste of traditional butter while also being in line with vegan sentiments.
Animal cruelty-free, this product comes in an 8 oz. container at reasonable prices.
Make your own Vegan Butter!
Here is a 3-minute video on how to make your own vegan butter. Enjoy!
Apart from Becel Vegan, every other of its products are non-vegan because they use buttermilk powder.
No, Imperial margarine is not at all vegan. It contains vegetable oils in place of milk fat. Also, it has ‘whey’ as one of its ingredients.
No, parkay margarine is not vegan because it contains milk/dairy products as ingredients.
Only Country Crock Plant Butter is suitable for vegan diets.
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