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With the increasing trend in health-conscious consumers in America, competition for healthy alternatives to butter and margarine are becoming more and more popular as other companies try to claim a share of this expanding market. New vegan spreads are hitting the shelves of grocery stores worldwide, and each of these spreads competes with Earth Balance for a share of the market. A few of Earth balance’s main competitors include I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter, as they have recently released a vegan version of their spread; Miyoko’s Kitchen, which is a smaller company that produces vegan cheeses; and Wayfare Whipped buttery spread which is a specialty Jewish product that is certified organic.
I can’t Believe it’s Not Butter has been around since 1979 as a low-cost alternative to butter for the foodservice industry. In 1981 the product was released to retail consumers and has been a booming success ever since. Their product lineup includes their original recipe spread, which is made from a mixture of water and soybean and palm oils. In addition to their original spread, they also offer a light spread version, an olive oil-based version, and a coconut oil version, as well as a sprayable version of their original blend. I can’t Believe it’s Not Butter also offers an “all purpose” margarine stick as well. The most recent addition to the I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter lineup is their new vegan blend. This new product is certified vegan and is free from dairy and other ingredients of animal origin, as well as artificial flavors and preservatives. This new plant-based product contains less saturated fats and fewer calories than other butter substitutes, making it a healthier alternative to real butter. I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter – Vegan Spread is also a much more affordable option than other alternatives currently on the market, and given the nationwide distribution that Unilever has, this product will be easy to find in most grocery stores across the United States and parts of Canada.
Miyoko’s Kitchen is a California-based vegan foods company that was established in 2014. The company specializes in producing and selling a variety of plant-based, dairy-free versions of artisan cheeses. Miyoko’s is a specialty brand, meaning that their product is only carried in limited specialty stores in select markets, such as Whole Foods. In mod-2016, the company released their own vegan, plant-based butter substitute, which was distributed to Whole Foods, and in December of 2016 the company launched the product in Trader Joe’s in several locations across Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona. Miyoko VeganButter is made from coconut oil, sunflower oil, and organic cashews, and the company boasts about how it tastes better than other buttery spreads and margarine substitutes, and that it can be used in place butter or margarine in any application, and that it even browns (unlike other buttery substitutes).
Wayfare Whipped is another specialty butter product that is most likely to be found in Jewish delis and specialty stores, as the product is certified vegan and Kosher pareve. Wafare Whipped is prepared without meats and animal origins, milk, genetically modified objects, and soy. The buttery spread also has sea salt added to the blend to give it a salted flavor, and the product comes in three varieties, including the classic version, a garlic flavored variety, and a sweet cinnamon whipped butter.
Butter has long been a staple in almost every kitchen in America for several thousand years. Buttery spreads and margarines have taken the reigns as competitors to traditional butter products, and as consumers are becoming more and more conscious of their health and diets, new butter products are being released that cater to vegan and specialty diets.
Earth Balance has been undoubtedly one of the best and most popular vegan, dairy-free butter substitutes on the market. It’s delicious butter taste, smooth and creamy texture, and all-natural, plant-based ingredients have made it a popular choice amongst health-conscious consumers. Earth Balance has great retail distribution as well, and it can be found in almost any grocery retail store, right next to the wide variety of other butters and buttery substitutes available on the market. With Earth Balance’s reasonably pricing, it is no wonder why the company has seen such great success in the market. As ConAgra foods takes over the company that currently owns Earth Balance, there is going to be an even wider retail distribution for this product, and the company will be seeking out other foreign markets to expand into as well.
One of my suggested improvements would be that the ConAgra company needs to strategically plan these overseas distributions so that it can get a better handle on its financial operations, as the company has a track record of poor cash flow management. I quite enjoyed researching this topic, and I have learned a lot about the margarine and vegan food sectors. I was also intrigued to learn that Earth Balance and even its competitors all have other dairy-free products that align with my wife’s strict diet, and I am very excited to look for these products the next time I go shopping. As we dig through the aisles of the grocery stores, we are finding that more and more products that have traditionally been produced with dairy products are being released in vegan and dairy-free options.
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