Margarine by any other name….

Miyokos Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter

Myokos Creamery Cultured European Style Vegan Butter.  Is this a great alternative to real butter?  Or is it a Country Crock?

Myokos Butter
They would like for you to believe that this is a brand new product and a great vegan alternative for real butter.  The problem is that this is not a new product to the world – it’s just another margarine.  Remember the days when we were told to choose margarine instead of butter for its heart health benefits?  That was mainly driven by two ideas:
  1. Margarine had less saturated fat than butter
  2. Trans fats, that were in abundance in margarine, were harmless.

We later found out that saturated fat is not actually problematic for health and that trans fats are really bad for us.  Thus, there really wasn’t a reason for margarine to exist anymore.  Unless of course, you like artificial, highly processed foods that are far from their native state.

How is this any different from margarine?

Margarine is by defined as:

a butterlike product made of refined vegetable oils, sometimes blended with animal fats, and emulsified, usually with water or milk.

I don’t think that Myokos Cultured Vegan Butter is as bad for you as the kinds of margarine of days gone by.  But is it a good alternative for real butter?

The short answer is yes with one huge caveat: if you’re a vegan or allergic to dairy.

Do I think you should buy this stuff if you’re not a vegan?  Maybe.  Probably not.  My reasoning is below.

My main problem with this product is the way that it is marketed and sold.  It’s positioned as a novel and new product that can be called a “butter”.  It’s not really a butter, per the definition of butter understood by most consumers.  It’s actually a “spread” or a “margarine”

The name of the product is “European Style Cultured Vegan Butter”.  Much of this title is fine, but it is misleading in that they use the words “European”,”Style” and “Butter”

“European Style” when used to refer to butter, is defined as butter that is churned to a higher milk fat content of 82%, standard butter in the US is 80% milkfat.

So is Myokos 82% fat?  Possibly.  But it’s not milkfat, it’s coconut oil.  I have no problems with coconut oil, but I do have problems with highly processed food.  Which brings us to the ingredient line:

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC COCONUT OIL, ORGANIC CULTURED CASHEW MILK (FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC CASHEWS, CULTURES), FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, SEA SALT.

This ingredient line is not too bad.  But it’s not great, either.  Why?  Because there are many highly processed and refined ingredients used in the place of whole, natural, less processed ingredients, i.e. milkfat.   Butter is mostly, primarily, concentrated milk fat.  It is made from cream that naturally separates from milk that people have been using as a staple in the diet for millennia.

This stuff is really just a coconut oil and cashew milk with added cultures based spread. The marketers are trying to hide what this stuff really is through fancy language…to make it seem premium when it really isn’t.   I worked in the food industry for 20 years and this sort of mis-leading marketing is one of the reasons I left. I believe in being totally honest with consumers and only selling wholesome, health-promoting foods.

OK, it’s great that this stuff is organic, but that’s about all that’s premium about it.

The coconut and cashew ingredients are probably imported.  So consider the amount of fossil fuels used to produce and ship these ingredients to the manufacturer.  And how much cashew is really in there?  Since it’s cashew milk, it could be really watered down cashews.  You wanna pay more for that?

My last contention with the plant-based, vegan butter is that it’s more expensive than real butter.  So if you’re not a vegan, there’s no real reason to pay more for this stuff in lieu of buying real butter.

One advantage of this product besides being vegan is that it’s mostly made from coconut oil and probably has a lot of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) in it.

In my opinion, the only reason to buy and use this product is if you’re a dedicated vegan devoted to a plant-based lifestyle or can’t eat milk-based food.  Otherwise, opt for organic butter from pasture-fed cattle (or sheep or goats or any other ruminant).  Milk and butter from ruminants that graze on grass and are properly raised and treated are far superior to things made from highly processed ingredients from sustainability and nutrition perspective.

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