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Thursday, October 21, 2021

The best plant-based butter brands in the UK

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Whether it’s oil-based or derived from a dairy alternative, the UK has some of the best plant-based butter brands in the world.

Gone are the days when vegans had to look for plant-derived margarine as a substitute for regular butter. Now, vegan butter is its own market, which is expected to grow by 7% in year-on-year sales in 2021.

From organic avocado oil butters that spread to shea and coconut oil-based block butter, brands have been innovating with plant ingredients to come up with alternatives you can spread on your toast, sear plant-based meat in and make pie crusts with.

Here are the best plant-based butter brands in the UK:

Vitalite

 

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While Vitalite began as a subsidiary of Kraft Foods, a few change of hands later, it relaunched as a dairy-free spread in 2008. It is the leading vegan butter brand in the UK in terms of sales.

Vitalite Dairy Free is made from a blend of three different vegetable oils: sunflower, rapeseed and sustainable palm. It’s salted and classed as a spread, so while you can use it for baking and cooking, it shines on its own on some toast or as part of a creamy béchamel.

Fortified with B vitamins, this oil-based plant butter is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6. Vitalite has partnered with British bestselling vegan authors BOSH! for its spread and branched out to making vegan cheese too.

Read our story on the environmental consequences of palm oil.

Flora

 

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The oldest on the list, Flora was launched in 1964 as part of Unilever’s spreads division Upfield. It is one of the best-known plant-based butter brands in the world.

In 2019, Flora announced that it was overhauling its range to make it 100% vegan. This meant the famous Flora Buttery spread was also plant-based. But last year, it reverted to its original recipe by adding buttermilk back into the product, citing consumer demand.

So while Flora Buttery isn’t vegan anymore, Flora Original and Light are. The Original is made from a blend of rapeseed, sustainable palm, sunflower and linseed oils, with faba bean protein and sunflower lecithin as an emulsifier. It’s salted, contains vitamins A and D as well as omega-3 and omega-6, just like the Light version, which is made from rapeseed, sunflower and palm oil.

Apart from these spread-style alternatives to dairy butter, Flora also offers two block-style plant butters perfect for baked goods and cooking: salted and unsalted. Made from sustainable palm, sunflower and rapeseed oil, faba beans and sunflower lecithin, it melts beautifully and also can be browned if done right.

Naturli’

 

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Naturli’ was founded in 1988 in Denmark a part of the larger corporation Orkla Foods. While it does plant-based meat, milk and ice creams, its vegan butter is famed for its organic ingredients, flavour profile and likeness to dairy butter.

Naturli’ has two vegan butters: Block and Spreadable. The spread is made from organic rapeseed, coconut and shea butter oil, and uses lemon juice and carrot juice for flavour as well. While it also has sunflower lecithin, the surprise ingredient is almond butter. 

The block butter has the same ingredients, just in different proportions, with shea oil making up 43% of the product and the emulsifier being just “lecithin”.

I AM NUT OK

 

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A few ways from the supermarket brands, I AM NUT OK is an artisanal vegan brand specialising in melty vegan cheeses. It began in 2017 in London and is now stocked across Europe.

It has two spreadable cultured vegan butters: rosemary and sea salt and truffle-infused. Made from cultured cashews, coconut oil and rapeseed oil, this most closely resembles Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, which is known for its browning ability.

Apart from the flavourings, the cashew and coconut base is blended with sunflower lecithin, nutritional yeast, lactic acid and live cultures to provide a savoury tang to the butter.

Mouse’s Favourite

Mouse’s Favourite is another artisanal brand specialising in plant-based cheese. With a founder hailing from Jersey, which has a dairy-heavy culture, the company was founded in West London and is most famous for its vegan camembert.

Mouse’s Favourite’s butter alternative is called Vegan Gold, and like I AM NUT OK, this is cultured and slightly salted. It comes in a block but can be easily spread too. The brand claims you can create “butter curls like it’s 1973”.

It’s made from organic coconut and rapeseed oils, cashews, sunflower lecithin, turmeric and cultures. It’s palm-oil free and great to spread on scones, mashed potatoes and sandwiches.

Read our Ultimate Guide to vegan cheese.

Pure

 

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Owned by Kerry Foods, Pure is a well-known vegan butter brand and unlike all the other brands on this list, it purely focuses on one product only: butter.

Instead of a block and spreadable variant each, Pure offers four different spreadable butters and one block butter. The block is made from palm and rapeseed oils, sunflower lecithin, is slightly salted and is fortified with vitamins E, A and D.

While the other butters are similarly fortified and salted, the Pure Buttery Taste spread is made from sunflower, rapeseed and palm oils. The Sunflower spread uses 32% sunflower oil as well as palm and linseed oils. The Soya butter is a mixture of soybean (42%) and palm oils, and the Olive variant sees palm and rapeseed oil blended with 16% olive oil. All the spreads are additionally fortified with vitamin B12.

Anay Mridul
Anay is the managing editor of The Vegan Review. A journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.