At our table, breakfast is not complete without spreads. Individuals who decided to go vegan may have said goodbye, permanently, to the taste of butter and cheese as dairy and lactose ingredients are always present in these spreads, like Country Crock.
But is Country Crock vegan? Is there still a chance for Country Crock Plant Butter?
What Is Country Crock?
Country Crock is a very popular brand in the US and has been around since 1945. They started with butter and cheese but eventually produced side dishes such as mashed potatoes and pasta. Recently, Country Crock released their plant-based products, but this is not to embrace veganism but to provide people healthier options.
It wasn’t that hard for the brand to produce vegan-friendly products because theirs is more on spreads, not plain butter. Their products contain almond, coconut, avocado, and other natural flavors coming from plants which sounded very inviting for health enthusiasts and vegans.
Is It Vegan or Not?
No. Most Country Crock products are not vegan. It was all about spreads when they started; butter and cheese were the main products. In 2019, in their quest to convince the public that their product is not just “the delicious butter their grandmother used,” they reinvented their image.
Included are packaging, advertising, and the product itself. They did not alter the original butter and spread but added plant-based products to cater to health-conscious individuals, not just vegan. The Olive Oil Plant Butter Sticks is just one of their new products, but some ingredients are still being doubted.
Which Country Crock Products Could Be Vegan?
Buttery Spreads & Baking Sticks
Buttery Spreads and Baking Sticks are the Country Crock original products. But the spreads and baking sticks are not vegan. These products do not have the same ingredients like butter or margarine.
However, a couple of ingredients are believed to derive from animals or may have gone through unethical processes against the moral beliefs of veganism.
Baking sticks and butter sticks are preferred by individuals who are baking because of the lesser fat contents. However, this is untested to be free from milk.
That is why some vegans question its claim as vegan butter, like Earth Balance and Califia Farms Plant Butter that also uses the oil palm producers are questioned with. The ingredients list for both lines of products are very similar, and they are listed below:
- Lecithin (from hydrated soy, safflower, or corn oil)
- Beta Carotene (mostly found in brightly colored red, orange, and yellow vegetables and some greens)
- Vinegar ( can be from various fruits, such as apple or grapes, malted barley or oats, while some are from industrial alcohol)
- Natural flavors (It can be from fruit or fruit juices, buds, bark, edible yeast, herbs)
- Vitamin A palmitate ( these can be from egg yolks, fish, cheese, liver
- Palm kernel and palm, Soybean oil)
- Purified water
Plant-Based Butter Spreads
- Plant Butter with Olive Oil Tub
- Plant Butter with Avocado Oil Sticks
- Plant Butter with Olive Oil Sticks
- Plant Butter With Almond Oil Tub
In 2019, Country Crock ventured into healthier vegan butter alternatives, considering individuals who want to continue a healthier lifestyle but still can eat something tasty and full of flavor.
As per manufacturers, Country Crock’s Plant Butter spreads do not have any animal products in them.
Almond protein is very high with the following varieties of oil plant butter which they said are authentically plant-based. The problem that strict practicing vegans see here is that there are many questionable ingredients like Vitamin D and palm oil.
The following varieties of glycerides, monoglycerides, and diglycerides can be found on the oil palm products they are using. Palm is a vegan plant but is still very hot in the eyes of the vegan community. Below are the common ingredients used for the plant-based spreads:
- Blend Of Plant-Based Oils (Palm Fruit, Palm Kernel, Canola And Olive Oil or Almond oil or Avocado oil )
- Pea Protein
- Sunflower Lecithin
- Citric Acid
- Vitamin A Palmitate
- Natural Flavor
- Beta Carotene (Color)
How Is Country Crock Different from Dairy Butter?
Country Crock is different from dairy butter because it does not use dairy on its products. It means the spreads have less saturated fat in each serving than regular butter, but the taste of delicious butter is still present.
These country crock products use avocado oil and olive oil as the primary ingredients for plant butter sticks and plant butter tub products. These are very much part of the diet vegan keep, but other times, some strict vegans question if the processes it went through use vegan-approved practices or not.
Ingredients To Avoid
There is plant-derived casein from peas, but for spreads, especially on cheese, this is a type of protein from a dairy product that enhances the taste of every cheese product that you eat. Vegan butter does not contain these as well as baking sticks since their flavors are salted naturally like vegan food.
Whey is not from a plant but a by-product of cheese upon production. This is made during cheese processing as the liquid from curdled milk is strained. It is then turned into whey powder after it is processed and dehydrated. These are not present in the oil plant butter is using, though, and the butter sticks from Country Crock.
Apart from the fact that these are unhealthy fats, there is also a possibility that it comes from animal fats. If these are plant-based glycerides, it will be from soy that vegan consumes, but it can also be from palm oil that most vegans are avoiding.
The usual source of this vitamin is sheep’s wool, where cholecalciferol(1) from lanolin is from. Almond oil is fortified with D3. However, vegan doubts the sources it derived from unless the labels state it clearly. Authentic vegan products do use almond oil to enhance vitamin D content.
The controversy over the production of palm oil is what makes it non-vegan. Country Crock is a known member of RSPO or Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, who is assigned to watch over the fair process and ethical treatment of the environment. A vegan avoids animal-based products and condones unequal treatment to the environment, humans, and animals. Unfortunately, butter sticks contain these as well.
No, Country Crock is not tested as dairy-free. They have less saturated fat than butter because they use vegetable fats like butter sticks. The ingredients on Country Crock original, Calcium and Churn Style, does not state any milk product, but these were untested, except for the plant-based butter.
Country Crock Plant Butter is gluten-free and dairy-free, like the Plant Butter Tub and the Plant Butter Sticks. Butter sticks taste real butter and its natural flavor, like almonds, avocado, and olive oil, which is very evident in every serving. Unfortunately, the regular spreads are not gluten-free.
Country Crock is not butter or margarine but a spread. This is the terminology used for vegetable plant oils products that do not meet either standard of the two products. It does not contain milk like vegan foods but is still not considered vegan by many.
Country Crock products, including all Country Crock plant butter and the original and churn style, have expiry dates, which you should check. Once opened, make sure to refrigerate it to last for a month or two. It is salted enough to make it last longer but freezing it will make it last up to six months.
Is Country Crock vegan? I believe it is still a no. Even if they claim that they are oil plant butter, many contents are not vegan-friendly. Strict vegans are searching for plant-based vegan diets and products that stand by the morals of veganism. A salted food even requires plain sea salt or kosher before it can be considered vegan.
As we always say, being vegan is a lifestyle. Being vegan is not just avoiding meat and eggs. Being vegan means caring for yourself and everything around you. That is the essence of being a true vegan.