Is Margarine Vegan? The (Truth) Behind The Ingredients You Don’t Know!

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If you love bread just like me, chances are you may love butter or margarine, too. Who can blame us? It just makes bread taste a lot better!

It is indeed a well-known fact that margarine is made from vegetable oil. This is why it is easily seen as a “vegan” alternative for butter. I bet you thought this at some point too!

While there is some truth to it, the “real truth” is that not all margarine brands are vegan-friendly. So, the answer to the question ‘is margarine vegan?’ is it depends on the brand.

Yes, I know you have more questions now.  So, in this article I will address all of them. I will also give you more options and ideas for the next time you shop for margarine.

To begin, here are some of the most “frequently asked” questions:

What’s In A Margarine - Ingredients?

Some time back, margarine had a bad rep for quite some time. This was because of the trans fat and all the hydrogenated oils in it. Yikes! 

Thanks to FDA, steps have been taken to reduce and even eliminate this from processed foods across the U.S. So thankfully this is not such a problem anymore.

According to Spoon University, most margarines today have the following ingredients:

  • Vegetable or plant oils
  • Soybean
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Milk or milk products (although not all)

The vegetable oil, which is the main ingredient can be any of these:

  • Palm oil (Not a vegan-friendly ingredient)
  • Canola oil
  • Flax oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Sunflower oil

It may also be fortified with:

  • Omega-3
  • Omega-6
  • Vitamins 

Some time back, margarine had a bad rep for quite some time. This was because of the trans fat and all the hydrogenated oils in it. Yikes!

Is Margarine Dairy-based Or Dairy-free?

From the above ingredients, you can tell that both exist. This is why you must be careful when buying margarine. Never just assume that all margarines are vegan!

Some brands may come in a “vegan-friendly” label, while others won’t, but are vegan as well.

The dairy-free ones are also labeled so you can spot them easily on the grocery shelves. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are vegan, so don’t forget to check the ingredients list.

is-margarine-vegan

The dairy-free ones are also labeled so you can spot them easily on the grocery shelves. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are vegan, so don’t forget to check the ingredients list.

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A Deeper Look Into The Ingredients

So how do we know a margarine is vegan if its label doesn’t say so? Well, aside from vegetable oils, it should NOT have Vitamin D3, whey, casein, lactose, milk, and other dairy products.

Also, be careful of other ingredients that sound innocent but are from animal products like lecithin. The term natural flavors may also be hiding animal products in it, so make sure this part is specific in the list of ingredients.

Be careful of other ingredients that sound innocent but are from animal products like lecithin. The term “natural flavors” may also be hiding animal products in it, so make sure this part is specific in the list of ingredients.

Vegan Vegetable Margarine

Remember that not all vegetable margarines are vegan. As they may still have contain animal products.

If you want to be sure and not have to bother about checking the ingredients, choose those with vegan labels.

Remember that not all vegetable margarines are vegan. As they may still have contain animal products.

Is Vegan Margarine Vegan?

This may sound like a silly question, but it’s still a question nonetheless. If it is clearly labeled as “vegan” then yes it is. That means no animal products nor traces of it. Go on and grab it!

Now here come the brands.

Is Earth Balance Margarine Vegan?

Yes! In fact, all their spreads are! Their Buttery Spread comes in different varieties and they are all non-GMO and zero-gram trans fat.  

Here are the ingredients: Natural Oil Blend (Palm Fruit, Canola, Soybean, Flax And Olive Oils), Filtered Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of Pure Salt, Natural Flavor (Plant Derived From Corn, No Msg, No Alcohol, No Gluten), Pea Protein, Sunflower Lecithin, Lactic Acid (Non-Dairy), And Naturally Extracted Annatto For Color.

Is Fleischmann's Margarine Vegan?

While this brand claims to have zero cholesterol, zero trans fat, and zero carbs, their website doesn’t answer this question. I pored over the ingredients and here they are:

Liquid Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Whey, Salt, Vegetable Mono- and Diglycerides and Soy Lecithin (Emulsifiers), Sodium Benzoate (to Preserve Freshness), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Colored with Beta Carotene (Source of Vitamin A), Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 is something that vegans tend to avoid because it is usually from an animal source. Since the source is not clear, I will treat it as “from an animal source” and say it’s not vegan!

Vitamin D3 is something that vegans tend to avoid because it is usually from an animal source.

Is Country Crock Margarine Vegan?

Country Crock has a variety of buttery spreads, too. However, while some consumer reviews on their site say it’s vegan, their website doesn’t say it is. Not even on their FAQ section could I find the answer. In that case, let’s go over the ingredients:

Water, Vegetable Oil Blend (Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil), Salt, Whey (Milk), Vegetable Mono and Diglycerides, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids (Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Disodium EDTA), Used to Protect Quality, Soy Lecithin, Lactic Acid, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3).

Did you see that? Palm oil, Milk, Vitamin D3! Not vegan!

Is Imperial Margarine Vegan?

Distributed by Unilever, Imperial Margarine doesn’t have its own website. Here are the ingredients:

Vegetable Oil Blend (Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil), Water, Whey (Milk), Salt, Mono And Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, (Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Disodium Edta) Used To Protect Quality, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).

It has whey from milk, so it’s not vegan, either.

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Is Becel Margarine Vegan?

Now this one, straight from its website, is labeled vegan. No lactose, no gluten, no trans fat, and no cholesterol. Is this on your list yet?

But be careful, do not buy the “Original” or any other flavor spread, as those are not vegan. You need to buy the Becel spread that specifically says on the packaging “Becel Vegan”

Ingredients: Canola & sunflower oils 74%, water, modified palm & palm kernel oils 6%, salt, natural flavours, lactic acid, vitamin A palmitate (vitamin A), vitamin D2, natural colour, soy lecithin.

Do not buy the “Original” or any other flavor spread, as those are not vegan. You need to buy the Becel spread that specifically says on the packaging “Becel Vegan”

Is Rama Margarine Vegan?

This German brand has made its way across the world and the hearts of margarine lovers. On their website, their margarine is “suitable for vegetarian dishes”. Knowing the differences between vegetarians and us vegans, I will say this is not vegan of course. However, they have a 100% vegetable variety which is vegan! Yessss!

Ingredients: Drinking water, vegetable oils and fats (38% rapeseed, shea, cocoa in varying proportions by weight), emulsifiers (lecithins, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), sea salt (0.3%), acidifier (citric acid), natural flavor, vitamin D, dye (carotene).

Nothing that screams out non-vegan to me, so I say it’s a go!

Is Flora Margarine Vegan?

It’s always such a relief when a brand’s label and website readily says “suitable for vegans”. That is the case with Flora Freedom! Flora Dairy-Free is Vegan Society approved!

Ingredients: Vegetable oils in varying proportions (60%) (rapeseed, palm-unilever is committed to sourcing sustainable palm oil), water, salt (0.9%), emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sunflower lecithin), citric acid, natural flavouring, vitamins A and D, colour (carotenes).

My only concern in the ingredients would had been the palm oil, but they claim it was sourced sustainably. Seems like Flora margarine is another great choice!

It’s always such a relief when a brand’s label and website readily says “suitable for vegans”. That is the case with Flora Freedom! Flora Dairy-Free is Vegan Society approved!

Is Stork Margarine Vegan?

According to one of Unilever’s websites, Stork is vegetarian only. So again, not for vegans unfortunately.

Ingredients: Vegetable oils in varying proportions (70%)(rapeseed, palm – Unilever is committed to sustainable palm oil, sunflower), water, salt (1.5%), BUTTERMILK, preservative ( potassium sorbate), emulsifier (mono- diglycerides of fatty acids), citric acid, flavourings, vitamin A and D, colour (carotenes).

Yep, it’s the buttermilk. Too bad.

*Side Note

None of these brands mention animal testing in their websites, and none of their vegan margarines carry a “cruelty-free” label.

According to one of Unilever’s websites, Stork is vegetarian only. So again, not for vegans unfortunately.

BONUS: To learn how to make your very own homemade vegan butter, check out the video below.

To Summarize: Vegan Margarine Brands

Are you just getting started on vegan margarine? Here are some of the most popular brands you can enjoy!

  • Earth Balance
  • Becel Vegan
  • Rama 100% Vegetable
  • Flora
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (It’s Vegan)

Vegan Margarine Brands Without Palm Oil

Palm oil is perhaps the most controversial and most argued about of all ingredients that concern vegans. This is because the palm oil industry has been known to destroy animal habitats, especially that of orangutans. To meet the demands for it, huge portions of rainforests also have to be cleared. Hardcore vegans avoid palm oil completely for this reason. No animal cruelty please! If you’re in the same boat, then these brands are a relief:

  • Rama 100% Vegetable
  • Miyoko’s Creamery Cultured Vegan Butter

It can be quite a challenge to find margarine brands that don’t have palm oil. It is so widely used in lots of perishable commodities today, especially in food. Sadly, it is also one the primary ingredient of most margarines.

Palm oil is perhaps the most controversial and most argued about of all ingredients that concern vegans. This is because the palm oil industry has been known to destroy animal habitats, especially that of orangutans.

Vegan Margarine Around The World

Here are brands that are specific to each country:

Vegan Margarine Brands In The UK

  • Flora
  • Stockwell
  • Tomor
  • Vitaquell 

Vegan Margarine Brands In Canada

  • Becel

Vegan Margarine Brands In Australia

  • Nuttelex

Fortunately, most brands serve the global market. So there is a big possibility that you might find other brands in grocery stores near you.

Where To Buy Vegan Margarine

Have you made a list yet? Now you can go shopping! Check out these stores that are known to carry at least one brand of vegan margarine:

  • Aldi
  • Coles
  • Green Bay
  • The Cruelty-Free Shop
  • The Fresh Market
  • Vegan Supply
  • Woolworth
  • Whole Foods Market

Some of these grocery stores are all vegan and some are not. What does it mean? Well you can always keep an eye for vegan margarine even if you’re shopping at a regular grocery store. It might be just around the corner! Keep your eyes peeled!

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Vegan Margarine Substitute

Ran out of vegan margarine at home? If you are up to it, you can make your own vegan margarine! You can use olive oil, coconut oil, or other pure vegetable oils. Just follow this recipe:

Vegan Margarine Recipe

Do you love whipping up your own supply of pantry must-haves? You can definitely make your own vegan margarine, too! This will also help if you find it difficult to get vegan margarine near you.

Most of all, you can control what’s in it. Don’t like palm oil or want it less salty? You can make it perfect for your taste! Don’t worry if you’re not happy with the results of your first attempt. You can always practice and keep trying!

Here’s my favorite recipe that you can make at home:

Homemade Vegan Margarine (from Loving It Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240ml) Refined Coconut Oil (Melted)
  • 2 Tbsp Canola Oil (or Avocado Oil)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) Unsweetened Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Small Pinch Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions:

  1. Blend both oils together.
  2. Combine ACV with the soy or almond milk. Stir until it curdles and look like buttermilk then add to the blender.
  3. Add the yeast, salt, and turmeric.
  4. Blend well until even and smooth.
  5. Pour into a butter dish and let it set in the refrigerator.

All done! Thaw it a little before using. This homemade vegan margarine can also be frozen if you won’t use it all at once. If you’re keeping it in the refrigerator area only, make sure to use it all within 2 weeks.

Conclusion

Not all margarines are vegan, so ALWAYS check the labels and ingredients list! If you can’t find one near you, you can always make your own vegan version, it’s not very hard!

Do you have a vegan margarine recipe you’d like to share? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform!

Not all margarines are vegan, so ALWAYS check the labels and ingredients list! If you can’t find one near you, you can always make your own vegan version, it’s not very hard!

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