You Ask. We Answer.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? At Earth Balance, we get a lot of questions. So for your educational enjoyment, here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.

Q: Why isn’t Earth Balance® Buttery Spread just called “margarine?”

A: For some really important reasons. Earth Balance® Buttery Spreads don’t contain any hydrogenated or interesterified oils, preservatives or emulsifiers found in most margarines and other butter alternatives. Our Buttery Spread is a natural option with 0g of trans fat and award-winning flavor. It’s beyond margarine—it’s something better.

Q: What is the difference between Earth Balance® and Smart Balance® spreads?

A: Earth Balance® spreads are made with all-natural ingredients. While our spreads contain the same patented blend of oils as Smart Balance® spreads, they’re also made with only natural expeller-pressed oils. Earth Balance® spreads also never contain GMOs, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors or emulsifiers. Plus, all of our products are vegan.

Q: What’s the difference between all of your buttery spreads?

A: Let’s start with what they all have in common: All of our buttery spreads contain a patented blend of expeller-pressed, non-GMO oils. All of them are vegan, gluten-free and contain 0g of trans fat. But there are a lot of uses for butter alternatives, so we set out to make products that work for all of them.

  • Earth Balance® Original Buttery Spread is the most versatile of all our products. You can spread, cook, bake, sauté, and basically use it any way you would regular butter.
  • Earth Balance® Organic Whipped Buttery Spread is made with certified organic oils and whipped to improve spreadability, even right out of the fridge.
  • Earth Balance® Buttery Spread with Olive Oil is also whipped for easy spreading, but we swapped canola oil with olive oil for a hint of the savory flavor and goodness of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Earth Balance® Soy Garden® Buttery Spread contains olive oil as well, and has the additional benefit of ground soy beans to destabilize the emulsion and enhance flavor release. It contains no canola oil.
  • Earth Balance® Soy Free Spread does not contain soybean oil, and instead contains a blend of palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil and olive oil.
  • Earth Balance® Vegan Buttery Sticks are made with a formula very much like that in our Original spread, but in a format perfect for measuring and baking.
Q: Can I cook with all of these spreads, or are some better than others for certain things?

A: You can cook with all of our spreads, but when it comes to baking, some are better than others. For example, because the whipping process adds volume, Earth Balance® Organic Whipped Buttery Spread and Earth Balance® Buttery Spread with Olive Oil will not measure precisely. Instead, we recommend Earth Balance® Original Buttery Spread, Earth Balance® Soy Garden® Buttery Spread or Earth Balance® Vegan Buttery Sticks for baking.

Q: How is the Earth Balance® Organic Coconut Spread different from other Earth Balance® spreads?

A: Earth Balance® Organic Coconut Spread is one of a kind. This product offers a convenient alternative to coconut oil, and is vegan and soy-free. Earth Balance® Organic Coconut Spread is based on the same formula as Earth Balance® Original Buttery Spread, but it replaces soybean oil with extra virgin organic coconut oil. Great on toast, steamed veggies or as an ingredient in cooking and baking recipes, this innovative product is non-GMO, and will quickly become a staple in any plant-based diet.

Q: If Earth Balance® spreads aren’t hydrogenated, how do they stay stable at room temperature?

A: Our patented oil blends are careful combinations of palm fruit, soy, canola, and olive oils. So not only are Earth Balance® Spreads nutritionally beneficial in many respects when compared to butter and most margarines, but they are also naturally stable at room temperature. That means we don’t have to resort to unnatural or unhealthy processes like hydrogenation or interesterification to give our spreads their buttery consistency.

Q: What’s the story behind the proprietary blend of expeller-pressed oils in Earth Balance® spreads?

A: In 1996, GFA Brands, Inc., the owner of the Earth Balance® brand, licensed the patented blends of vegetable oils developed by Brandeis University. Research at Brandeis has shown that consumption of these oil blends, combined with a sensible, low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and exercise, can help reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase the “good” HDL cholesterol, thereby improving your overall cholesterol ratio.* This is one thing that sets Earth Balance® spreads apart. Not only do we avoid hydrogenated oils, trans fats and other chemical modifications, our formula has been proven to actually help improve your cholesterol ratio.* Another thing that makes us special is that award-winning Earth Balance® flavor, but we’re pretty sure you already knew about that part.

*When 2/3 of fat intake comes from Earth Balance® spreads or from other products with balanced fats; limit fat to 30% of calories (65g/day) and saturated fats to 10% (20g/day).  Limit cholesterol to 300mg/day.  Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oil.  Exercise regularly.

Q: What are trans fats and why should I avoid them?

A: When oils are hydrogenated, it means hydrogen atoms are added to fat molecules so they’ll stay stable and harden at room temperature. Trans fats are oils that have been hydrogenated, and they’ve been widely linked to a number of health problems. At Earth Balance, we use naturally stable blends of palm fruit, canola, soy and olive oils that do not require hydrogenation or any other chemical modification.

Q: What are the advantages of expeller-pressed oils?

A: Oils that are not specifically labeled “expeller-pressed,” “cold-pressed” or “extra virgin” are often made by using harsh chemical solvents and/or extreme heat to separate the edible oil from the plant material. “Expeller-pressed” means we only use pressure to separate the oil from the plant material—a more natural way to extract the nutrients and flavor of the oil.

Q: Is palm oil healthy?

A: Like an avocado, palm fruit has two basic parts: the kernel (or seed) and the fruit. Oils can be derived from both. Oil derived from the palm fruit is 45% saturated, compared to palm kernel oil which is 90% saturated, has many other beneficial qualities and is essential to our balanced fat blends.

Q: With all the issues surrounding it, why does Earth Balance still use palm oil in its products?

A: Earth Balance, along with our parent company Boulder Brands, is dedicated to “changing the way America eats” for the better. A natural, plant-based, edible oil, palm oil provides functional health and performance benefits. So while there are options for replacing palm oil, such as hydrogenated and interesterfied oils, those alternatives would compromise the health and product quality of Earth Balance products, which is a compromise we’re unwilling to make. We insist on using only responsibly sourced and sustainable produced palm oil. Learn more about our responsible palm oil commitment.

Q: How can consumers track your progress on your responsible palm oil commitment?

A:

 Our goal is to be as transparent as possible throughout our journey toward becoming 100% compliant with our responsible palm oil commitment, and we are dedicated to releasing the first-ever Earth Balance annual report outlining the progress on our responsible palm oil commitment at the end of 2015.

In the meantime, we are also exploring various options to provide real-time, interactive online updates so that interested individuals and organizations can track our progress online throughout the year and beyond. We’ll share those as quickly as we develop them.

Q: Why did you stop buying Greenpalm certificates ?

A: Greenpalm certificates were first established by the RSPO in 2004 as an option for palm oil users to show their support of sustainable palm oil. Some RSPO members worked very hard to meet the principles and criteria to produce environmentally sustainable palm oil as a result.

Unfortunately, over time, the perception of claims associated with Greenpalm certificates have weakened, and correspondingly the value to buyers and the incentive to growers have weakened, too, We feel there are stronger and more effective ways to support responsible palm oil production, which is why we’ve stopped purchasing certificates and are instead focusing our energy and resources on our responsible sourcing of palm oil.

Q: What are Omega-3s and why do I need them?

A: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that your body needs to function effectively. They’re called “essential” because your body can’t make them on it’s own. You have to get them from food or supplements.

Q: And why is agave syrup better than sugar?

A: Agave syrup (derived from a succulent plant native to northern Mexico and the Southwestern USA) is naturally sweet. It has the consistency of honey, but with a much milder flavor. It also has a low glycemic index, which means it doesn’t impact the body’s blood sugar too quickly, but instead provides sustained, balanced energy.

Q: What is unique about Earth Balance® MindfulMayo™ Dressing & Sandwich Spread?

A: Earth Balance® MindfulMayo™ Dressing & Sandwich Spread is a plant-based alternative to conventional mayonnaise. A great-tasting addition to sandwiches or any recipe that uses mayo, Earth Balance® MindfulMayo™ is vegan, cholesterol-free, egg-free and dairy-free. Plus, it’s non-GMO and provides the perfect condiment for those following a plant-based diet.