Margarine and spreads
Margarine and spreads are varieties of spreadable fats which are manufactured industrially. As a substitute for butter they are designed to be spread on bread, to be part of sandwich toppings or to be the main bread topping itself. Margarine has a creamy texture and the essential composition contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, water and skimmed milk. The fat content lies between 80 and 90 percent. The yellowish color usually stems from the adding of beta-carotin.
Compared to butter, margarine has a longer shelf life and is cheaper than its original counterpart. The nutritional value has been discussed controversially for decades. Many proponents see margarine as healthy alternative to butter due to an allegedly better fatty acid composition. However, the latest research does not confirm the assumptions to any degree of absolute certainty.
The market for margarine and spreads in the United States is characterized by brands such as 'Shedd’s Country Crock’, ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ or ‘Blue Bonnet’. ‘Shedd’s Country Crock’ was the best selling brand in the margarine/spreads category with sales amounting to 415.9 million U.S. dollars in 2016. The category leading brand is owned by Unilever Bestfoods North America, a subsidiary organization of the British/Dutch-based company Unilever. Unilever Bestfoods North America was the undisputable category captain of margarine/spreads products in 2016. The FMCG manufacturer generated sales of roughly 855 million U.S. dollars that year.
On the demand side, about 1.1 billion pounds of margarine were consumed in the United States in 2010. In comparison, the per capita consumption of margarine amounted to roughly 3.5 pounds in that year.