It really wasn’t that long ago when dairy-free butter alternatives were hard to come by. One by one, options have popped onto shelves. But now the largest producer of margarine and buttery alternatives aims to make plant-based the norm. In a move toward sustainability, Upfield has vowed to go completely vegan with all of their brands by 2025. And they’re already making big dairy-free transitions.
These 15 Butter Alternative Brands Owned by Upfield are Going Vegan
Just a few weeks ago, Imperial margarine, an old-school Upfield brand, began sneaking a new formula of sticks onto store shelves. It’s easy to miss the change, as the only difference in the packaging is a small “lactose-free” note on the front. The new lactose-free version is actually dairy-free and vegan, while their old formula contains whey. Once the old formula sells through, Imperial margarine will be a completely vegan brand. And all other Upfield brands plan to follow suit. Here’s a break down of the products they currently own and manage.
North American Brands
- Becel – Canada’s leading margarine company has many dairy-free and vegan options, but they still have a few whey-containing versions to update.
- Bertolli – The transition or Bertolli might take some time (or perhaps they will sell the brand). Their olive oils and vinegars are naturally dairy free, but they make many pasta sauces and meals that are still filled with dairy.
- Country Crock – They launched a dairy-free, plant butter line a few years back, and have been busy reformulating their other spread without dairy. At last check, their baking sticks still contained milk.
- Flora – They made their North American debut with a purely plant-based line of buttery sticks. But in other countries, they do still make some buttery spreads and margarines that are made with milk.
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! – Their “It’s Vegan” spread is obviously made without dairy, but so is their Light buttery spread. They still have to make dairy-free transitions with their other spread, spray, and stick products.
- Imperial – This age-old margarine brand has been around for many decades. They have gone dairy-free, but the products on the shelves are still transitioning. The new ones with a tiny “lactose-free” label are made without whey, or any other dairy ingredients.
- Violife – This Greek company was founded as a purely plant-based company, and was Upfield’s first big dairy-free play. Their vegan cheeses and other dairy alternatives are sold throughout the world, and have become quite popular in the U.S. and Canada.
More International Brands
Blue Band, Elmlea, Fruit d’Or, Lätta, Planta Fin, ProActiv, Rama, and Stork are also owned by Upfield, but are not typically found in North America. You can find one or more of these brands in most countries around the globe. Many of these brands still use milk in some of their products. But based on the company’s promise, they should be reformulated without dairy in the next few years. For more information, visit upfield.com.
What about those of us that do not want to go dairy free? About 5 years ago Country Crock used to taste very much like real butter …then they jumped on the dairy free band wagon and their margarine changed to tasting like all the other–one molecule away from plastic margarines.
Are there any margarines out there that taste like Country Crock used to—like real butter??? I do not have an issue with milk whey or any other dairy product mixed into the marg. I just love the taste of real butter but hate paying the high prices for it.
I have tried all the Becels, Imperials, the most recent Country Crock, I Can’t Believe It Is Not Butter, and they all taste the same—like margarine.
If there is anyone out there that remembers what real butter tastes like and knows a margarine that has that creamy butter taste please let me know. I am pretty sure it will contain milk whey like the old Country Crock used to.
I’m sorry, this is a dairy-free site and I am dairy-free, so I haven’t tried, nor can I recommend a dairy margarine / butter. You might want to look for a true margarine. Most of these have gone the buttery spread / stick route, which doesn’t include trans fats. Margarines are made with hydrogenated oils, which is what gives it that taste you remember. The amount of dairy in them has always been small. Or you can try a margarine / butter hybrid.
How do you contact the makers of imperial margarine? I used it for many years for cooking buy they’ve put a lot of dairy in the product and its disgusting now and as bad as blue bonnet. How can they do this and expect people to purchase their items?
If you can’t find a website for them, look on the packaging. By law, they have to have consumer contact information on the product package.
I am writing about Imperial brand. I have bought it several times in the last month. I do not remember the taste as it is. Did you change the recipe. It now takes wierd nothing like butter flavoring? Do I just no remember it from years ago. I go to the Dollar store once in awhile and it is all they carry so I pick up for fast substitute. But It tastes more like a plastic.
We’re not affiliated with Upfield, but yes, they have been reformulating their products to be dairy-free. As mentioned, the Imperial products with a “lactose-free” label are the new reformulated variety.