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: I thought palm oil was unhealthy. Why do you use it?

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 that have been patented by Brandeis University. Earth Balance only uses palm fruit oil that is harvested from sustainable sources in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Learn more about our palm oil initiatives here.

Q: I’ve heard talk about palm oil and sustainability. Where does Earth Balance source its palm oil?

A: 30% of our palm oil comes from Brazil, which is the source we use in all of our organic products. The remaining 70% is sourced from peninsular Malaysia where all of our suppliers are members of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), the leading global organization developing and implementing global standards for sustainable palm oil production. All palm oil sourced from these suppliers comes only from existing palm plantations, not new jungle-clearing projects. We insist on continuing assurances from our suppliers that all palm fruit oil purchased for Earth Balance complies with the RSPO policies and we would not hesitate to terminate suppliers that violate these policies. More info on RSPO is available at

Q: Is Earth Balance taking any other sustainable palm oil initiatives?

A: Earth Balance has purchased GreenPalm Certificates for 2012 production to fund the growth and expansion of sustainable palm, and it is our intention to do the same going forward. These certificates work like green energy credits and the money paid for the certificate goes directly to improving the infrastructure and practices behind sustainable palm. We believe the current global focus on making palm oil sustainable, through programs like GreenPalm, will inevitably create a supply chain that is exclusively sustainable, hopefully within the next five or so years.

Additionally, Earth Balance partners with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), a non-governmental organization that is dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat. To learn more about OFI, visit

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.