May 26, 2011

Dairy Free Butter/Margarine – Which to Choose?? (Soya Free & Corn Free options too!)

Before I even get started I want to shout out from the rooftops that almost ALL MARGARINES contain MILK!


It never ceases to scare me when I hear about all the people in the world who think that margarine is Dairy free by default. I do understand why people think this: it’s supposed to be made with vegetable oils instead of milk but the fact is that most margarines contain buttermilk or some other form of dairy product, for flavour and/or consistency I assume? Whatever the reason, it’s in there so watch out! ...and I will say it again and again: Please Please Please READ THE INGREDIENTS of everything you buy/eat! Even if you think that the food in question is safe because you will often be surprised, I know that I am! (i.e. - Rice Dream cheese slices contain casein which is milk protein. That was a big shocker for me when one day, years ago, my sister said that I was behaving like I had ‘got milk’ so she searched though everything I had eaten that day. It was also quite a shock for a vegan family I once informed). This also leads me to prompt you to thoroughly question the people who prepare your food because they just might not know what they think they know...but do it with delicacy because it is a sticky situation as I’m sure you will agree.


On a happier note, all this does not mean that you have no alternatives. There are a few margarines on the market which cater to the dairy free and vegan communities –whew! So let’s get back on topic: Dairy Free Margarines for the

- Dairy free/milk free
- Lactose intolerant
- Vegan

among us. There have been a few brands which have ebbed and flowed in popularity throughout the years but below are some of the currently popular options:

Pure Dairy Free Sunflower
Pure’s Sunflower spread is the best in my humble opinion. I am delighted that Pure Dairy Free expanded their butter substitute range to include soy free Sunflower (also available is Pure Olive and Pure Soya). Pure Sunflower is great for spreading, baking and cooking. It is the most food allergy friendly spread of its quality on the market. It is also the only Spread from the Pure range which is soya free. I get my Pure Sunflower spread in larger Tesco stores for €1.29 but I’ve seen it available in Down to Earth on Georges St as well.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Rich in Omega 3
- Free from GM ingredients
- Free from hydrogenated oils
- No artificial additives
- Fortified with Vitamins E, A, D2 and B12
Do check out Pure’s website too: www.puredairyfree.co.uk because there is a very tasty looking recipe library which has many free from recipes catering to dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and egg free diets which will help you get through the tub rather quickly no doubt!
Ingredients: Sunflower oil (40%), Water, Vegetable oils, salt (0.75%), Emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides of Vegetable Fatty Acids), Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Colour (Natural Carotenes), Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12
Pure have also confirmed for me that the ‘Vegetable Oils’ listed in the ingredients are: Sunflower, Linseed and Palm Oil
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2467kJ/600kcal
Protein nil
Carbohydrate nil
Of which sugars nil
Fat 67g
Of which saturates 15g
Monosaturates 19g
Polysaturates 30g
Omega 3 fatty acids 4g
Omega 6 fatty acids 26g
Fibre nil
Sodium 0.3g
Salt Equivalent 0.75g

Pure Soya Spread
A good spread in taste, texture and price (Tesco carries Pure Soya at the bargain price of €0.99 a tub). My family used to use this spread as our favourite staple until the Pure Sunflower came on the market. The biggest downfall with Pure Soya is the soya. Personally I like to limit the intake of soya in my diet but more importantly, soy is one of the Top 10 food allergens, so I like to support anything non-soy for this reason. But of course, if you don’t mind it’s a quality spread and very affordable.

- Dairy free
- Lactose free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
Website : www.puredairyfree.co.uk
Ingredients: Soya Oil (45%), Water, Vegetable Oils, Salt (0.75%), ‘Natural Flavouring, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Colour (Natural Carotenes), Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12.
Pure have also confirmed for me that the ‘Vegetable Oils’ listed in the ingredients are: Soya and Palm Oil
Also, if you are interested, the oils used in the
Pure Olive spread are Rapeseed, Palm, Olive and Extra Virgin Olive but Pure Olive is not as readily available
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2191kJ/533kcal
Protein Nil
Carbohydrate Nil
Of which sugars Nil
Fat 59.0g
Of which saturates 14.0g
Monosaturates 15.0g
Polysaturates 27.0g
Fibre Nil
Sodium 0.3g
Salt Equivalent 0.75g

Suma Soya Spread
Suma Soya Spread is made by a worker’s co-operative which is great. In their own words that means: '[all of the] day-to-day work is carried out by self-managing teams of employees who are all paid the same wage, and who all enjoy an equal voice and an equal stake in the success of the business'. I love this. If I wasn’t concerned about my soya intake I would definitely be supporting Suma for the co-operative reason alone. It is also really great to have a spread which is guaranteed to be free from nuts, peanuts and sesame (the website states this). You can usually find Suma in The Hopsack, Nourish,Down to Earth and and it is generally priced at around €2.60.

- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Peanut free
- Nut free
- Sesame free
- Free from Sulphur Dioxide
- Celery free
- Mustard free
Website: www.sumawholesale.com
Ingredients: Soya oil (45%), Water, Palm oil, Salt (0.75%), Emulsifier (Mono & Diglycerides of Fatty Acids - E471), Vitamin E, Natural Flavouring, Colour (beta carotene - E160a), Vitamin A, Vitamin D as D2, Vitamin B12
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2231kJ/533kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrates 0g
Of which sugars 0g
Fat 59g
Of which sugars 14g
Fibre 0g
Sodium 0.3g
Salt 0.75g

Biona Organic: Olive Extra Spread
Biona products are quite popular and their margarines are in no way an exception to this rule. usually available in Down to Earth on Georges St and The Dublin Food Co-op. Prices are approx. €3.50-€3.80. The Olive Extra Spread is good for spreading only (as the name implies). It is not suitable for frying as it just returns to oil and defeats the purpose. I have also read suggestions to put your olive oil in the fridge to transform it into a spreadable texture but I think that I would rather drizzle my oil or use Biona’s version, but that’s just me. Free from many common food allergens makes Biona’s Olive Oil spread popular as well as it having the smaller tub size because if you are just spreading it might be hard to get through the larger quantity.

- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- No salt
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Non-Hydrogenated
- Non-Interesterified
- Certified organic
- Organic Palm oil comes from sustainable sources
Website: www.biona.co.uk
Ingredients: Palm fat*, sunflower oil deodorised*, water, extra virgin olive oil* (12%), sea salt (0.2%), lemon juice*
*certified organic ingredients
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2960kJ/720kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 80g
Of which saturates 30g
Mono unsaturates 31g
Poly unsaturates 19g
Cholesterol <2mg 0.1g="" 0g="" class="separator" div="" fibre="" sodium="" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
Biona Organic: Sunflower Vegetable Margarine
Biona’s main selling point is that almost every health food store stocks it so it is one of the easiest to find. Definitely available in The Dublin Food Co-op (in both small and large tub sizes), The Hopsack, Down to Earth and I think Nourish too for about €3.80 or so. The consistency is fine, although a bit harder than some of the others and personally I find the flavour a bit lacking - but that's just personally! It’s good for cooking/baking but the biggest downfall of this margarine is that it contains soya and coconut which are not the most allergy friendly foods and therefore excludes some users. But I do appreciate Biona’s limited ingredient list because as you know, I love a short, snappy, readable ingredient list!

- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- No salt
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Non-Hydrogenated
- Non-Interesterified
- Certified organic
- Organic Palm oil comes from sustainable sources
Website: www.biona.co.uk
Ingredients: Sunflower Oil (50%), Palm Fat, Water, Coconut Oil, Carrot Juice, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Lemon Juice
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2960kj/720kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 80g
Of which saturated fatty acids 30g
Mono unsaturated fatty acids 31g
Poly unsaturated fatty acids 19
Cholesterol <2mg 0.1g="" 0g="" class="separator" div="" fibre="" sodium="" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">


Biona Organic: Omega 3 Extra
Omega 3 Extra is Biona’s healthier option.Its not available everywhere but Nourish on Wicklow St usually stock it. The price is a bit steaper than some of the other dairy free options at about €3.99 for 250g but I suppose walnut oil and acaia fibre doesn’t come cheap. Sometimes I wonder how much omega 3 etc. I could be ingesting from margarine when I use so little of it but since I have been eating less animal protein every bite has become more important! The best bit about Omega 3 Extra is that it is soya free and coconut free, unlike Biona’s Sunflower Vegetable Margarine. It’s not as readily available but I have seen it in a handful of shops and seeing as Biona products are available in just about every health food store I have no doubt that it could be specially ordered for you in your local should you not be able to find it elsewhere.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Coconut free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- No salt
- No added sugar from cane or beet
- Contains Acaia Fibre
- Non-Hydrogenated
- Organic
- Organic Palm oil comes from sustainable sources
Website: www.biona.co.uk
Ingredients: Rapeseed oil* (42%), water, palm oil*, acaia fibre* (soluble fibre), walnut oil*(2.5%), carrot juice*, lemon juice*, sea salt(0.1%)
*= Certified organic ingredients
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2592kJ/628kcal
Protein 0.1g
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 70g
Of which saturates 20g
Mono unsaturates 34g
Poly unsaturates 16g
Alpha linolenic acid 4.2g
Linolenic acid 11.8g
Cholesterol <2mg 3.5g="" 9mg="" class="separator" div="" e="" fibre="" g="" sodium="" style="clear: both; text-align: center;" vitamin="">
Vitalite
I haven’t seen too much of Vitalite in Dublin yet but it is available in some of the larger grocery stores (this one was found in Portlaoise). Vitalite is made by Dairy Crest which is a UK dairy producer so their dairy free margarine is very progressive! I would also think that it is liable to become more popular in time as Dairy Crest is a large manufacturer. It is free from a lot of the common food allergens (including soya, corn and coconut) which makes it a suitable alternative for people with multiple food allergies.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- Olive free
- Coconut free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan*
- Vegetarian
- No hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Fortified with vitamins: Niacin, B6, B2, Folic Acid & B12
*Although the ingredients are suitable for Vegans, Vitalite is made by Dairy Crest which is a dairy manufacturer so I suppose that it depends on your belief system...
Website: www.dairycrest.co.uk
Ingredients: Vegetable Oils (of which sunflower oil 22%), Water, Salt (1.5%); Emulsifiers – E471, Sunflower Lecithin; Preservative – Potassium Sorbate; Lactic Acid; B Vitamins (Niacin, B6, B2, Folic Acid & B12); Flavourings; Colours – Annatto, Curcumin.
Dairy Crest have also confirmed for me that the ‘Vegetable Oils’ listed in the ingredients are free from corn, coconut and olive but unfortunately my contact was not at liberty to share the full ingredients in order to protect the recipe… c’est la vie
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 2068kJ/503kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Of which sugars 0g
Fat 56g
Of which saturates 12.2g
Mono-unsaturates 22.5g
Polyunsaturates 18.6g
Fibre 0g
Sodium 0.6g
Riboflavin 0.96mg
Vitamin B6 1.2mg
Niacin 10.8g
Folic Acid 120ug
Vitamin B12 0.60ug
Vitamin E 18mg


Marks & Spencers Low Fat Dairy Free Sunflower Spread
It’s creamy, it’s smooth, it doesn’t have some of the ‘usual suspect’ substitute flavours and it even seems to melt a tiny bit better if you pop some into your boiling pot of pasta while its cooking and best of all, it’s not expensive! At less than €2 it is a true rival to Pure.

- Dairy free
- Soya free
- Olive free
- Gluten free
- Wheat free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
Ingredients: Water, Sunflower Oil (22%), Vegetable Oils (Palm & Linseed), Salt (1.4%), Stabiliser: E401, Vegetable Fibre, Emulsifier (E471), Citric Acid, Natural Colour (Mixed Carotenes), Natural Flavouring, Vitamins A & D
Nutritional Information per 100g:
Energy 1410kJ/345kcal
Protein 0g
Carbohydrate 0.2g
Of which sugars 0.2g
Fat 38g
Of which saturates 10.5g
Mono-unsaturates 11.0g
Polyunsaturates 14.5g
Trans Fatty Acid 0.3g
Fibre 1.3g
Sodium 0.56g
Equivalent as salt 1.40g

And let us not forget good old fashioned

Vegetable Shortening!
Vegetable Shortening is generally dairy free (but always check the ingredients!) and is great for pastries and the likes. It’s also super affordable. My mom has done more deluxe allergy friendly baking than I have in the past and claims that half and half DF margarine & vegetable shortening has not been hugely beneficial to her but if you want to try it out there are a few food allergy friendly shortenings to choose from. Some Vegetarian and Vegan shortenings are Stork - €0.69, Cookeen - €0.87, or Dunnes Stores own brand Margarine - €0.58. Some non-vegetarian Dairy free options are Frytex - €0.86c or Dunnes Stores own brand Cooking Fat - €0.66.

I am of course open to contradiction so please share your thoughts and any other butter substitites that you might hold dear to your hearts! And if you have had loads of success on this or indeed any topic, please do share your experiences especially if you have yum recipes which are particularly suitable for one dairy free margarine over another!


Happy allergy-free baking, cooking & spreading in the meantime!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

M&S do a dairy free sunflower spread which isnt bad! I actually prefer it to Pure Sunflower Spread! It's about €1.50 and their Henry St branch definitely sells it (adj to the express checkouts, next to the dairy spreads and cheeses), I havent checked any other M&S shops...

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

Hey, thanks for the tip! I've never tried the M&S margarine - and better than Pure's Sunflower?! I'll have to try this stuff and soon! :) Thanks!

Velovegan said...

Wow I just found your blog, I love it! I am surprised to hear Vitalite is vegan, I remember growing up on that spread in the UK! I hope I can find it somewhere here in Dublin :)

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

I'm glad you found Survival Guide Velovegan! and let us know anywhere you find the DF Vitalite, it needs a bit of a popularity boost i think ;)

itchylittleworld said...

If you can do coconut - they make coconut butter too, sometimes called coconut manna. It's great.

My 3-year-old son had severe eczema until he was diagnosed with food allergies a few months back. I have a blog that shares our family’s battles with eczema, allergies, and asthma (yes, lucky guy has that too).

I think the key is to learn from one another, so the more information out there to the masses, the better. With this in mind I’ve started a blog hop for anyone dealing with allergies, eczema, or asthma, either for themselves or as a caregiver. If you’re interested in joining, please add a comment. I’d love to welcome you to the group. http://itchylittleworld.wordpress.com/blog-hop/


Thanks.
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Do you know if the Aldi 'Perfect for baking' is dairy free? I have sent them a letter but they never responded???!

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

hmmm... I don't know, but I will do my best to find out for you!..Watch this space!

Laura said...

Some Tesco stores are carrying Pure's Olive spread now. http://www.puredairyfree.co.uk/pureolive.php
It is also soya free :)

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

hey Laura! Thanks for the tip!! I get so excited when I see my Free From Favourites popping up in places like Tesco and Dunnes! - power to FREE FROM products coming to Main Stream shopping!!! :) :)

Riona said...

Hi! I've just come across your website & am finding it really helpful as I'm starting to go dairy free. I'm very new to this so still having to check the back of EVERYTHING in the grocery store!

I just checked the back of the Stork margarine in my fridge & the fourth ingredient is buttermilk! Could be a new recipe or just this cake-variety of Stork; it's the Stork "Perfect for Cakes" 500g tub.

lols said...

Fantastic blog! Thank u.
My 19 month old son has severe allergies to milk, eggs and nuts.
The whole family now eat and bake with Vitalite spread and prefer this to Pure.
We're going on our first family holiday abroad and Im worried about travelling with his allergies.
Does anyone have any advice or know if you can get ANY of the dairy free spreads in travel size?
Thanks

Marie Killeen said...

Hi ya, When I checked the ingredients on Stork and it has whey is this not a dairy ingredient?

jean Mead said...

the Hard Stork ( in the block) is dairy free , normally the soft margarines contact buttermilk to make them soft . So use the block