We know that butter is one of the biggest “don’ts” in the vegan world, but what about margarine? Can you still indulge in this butter substitute if you’re following a vegan lifestyle?
The Short Answer:
No, most margarine is not vegan but there are some specially made vegan varieties.
The Long Answer:
“I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” is the somewhat interesting name of one of the world’s leading brands of margarine. A lot of vegans perk up when they hear that moniker because if it’s not butter then maybe they can have it!
Unfortunately, that’s not the case with a lot of regular kinds of margarine, but all hope is not lost, vegans!
As the name of the product implies, margarine is a French creation. It was first conceived in 1869 by a French chemist who was part of a competition to create a cheap butter substitute to help the French army and many of the country’s poorer population.
In the beginning, margarine was mostly composed of beef fat, but shortly after its inception, it was made from solidified vegetable oil, which is good news for vegans. What’s interesting to note is that in its natural state margarine is white, so most companies dye it yellow to make it look more like butter. This fact has nothing to do with whether or not it’s good for vegans, I just thought it was cool. You’re welcome!
Most margarine is composed of vegetable oil, salt, and water. On its surface, this should be a vegan slam dunk. However, most major brands of margarine add animal byproducts back into the mix such as whey and lactose.
All is not lost though. With veganism surging in popularity nationwide, many of the major margarine companies are creating alternative products specifically designed for vegans. Usually, they’re marked clearly as a “vegan spread” or “butter alternative.”
To all my vegan friends out there, what is your favorite butter alternative? How do you keep butter in your diet without actually eating butter? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!