Sales of margarine are in decline, due to a combination of reformulated recipes, price, health and taste. Do you defend marge, or is butter simply better?
Butter v marg: it’s a fight that has gone on for decades. On one side, there’s butter – rich, creamy, defiantly full-fat and made for millennia by churning the milk or cream from cattle. On the other, there’s margarine: the arriviste spread invented in the 1860s. It might not taste delicious, and it doesn’t sink into your toast like butter, but for decades margarine has ridden a wave of success as the “healthy” alternative.
No longer. Sales of margarine have plummeted in the last year, according to Kantar, with “health” spreads dropping 7.4% in sales. Flora has been particularly badly hit, losing £24m in sales, partly due to reformulating its recipe.
Meanwhile, butter is back in vogue. Brits bought 8.7% more blocks of butter last year, and 6% more spreadable tubs. This is partly due to the “narrowing price gap between butter and margarine,” Tim Eales of IRI told The Grocer, but also to the home baking revival led by Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and co. We’re all sticking unsalted butter in our sponges these days.
A yen for natural, unprocessed produce could also be a factor. “Since all the food scandals of the last 10 years, people are thinking about where their food comes from – butter is perceived as ‘pure’,” says food writer Signe Johansen. But is marg really out for the count? Big brands are owned by powerful multinationals such as Unilever, with huge marketing budgets.
I use butter, basically, I don’t have margrine in the house. I do sometimes, I use it for garlic bread for BBQs, that’s about it.
I read sometime back that margarine is one molecule away from being plastic…
Think about that.
Would you melt your Tupperware and spread it on your toast?
No, me neither.